HAL Ardiden 1 Shakti powers the Dhruv, Light Combat Helicopter and Light Utility Helicopter

Panaji: The long-delayed HAL-Safran joint venture at Honda for maintenance, repair and overhaul of helicopter engines is likely to commence operations from June 2021, senior officials of HAL and Safran said on Friday.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore and French company, Safran Helicopter Engines, entered into a joint venture — Helicopter Engine MRO Private Limited — in 2016 to set up the helicopter maintenance plant which would initially focus on maintenance and overhaul of helicopter engines.

Speaking on the side-lines of the Indo-French investment conclave, managing director of Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Ltd, Maxence Poumaere said that the joint venture would take off in 2021 as the initial hurdles have been surmounted.

Union minister of state for defence Shripad Naik had met with representatives of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Safran Helicopter Engines in September to discuss the revival of the proposed helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Goa.

Chief of projects at HAL’s engine division B. Krishna Kumar said, “This facility will provide service to engines of helicopters which are the mainstay of the armed forces.”

The HAL-Safran joint venture will support helicopter engines operated by national and international operators from a 1,000 sq office and a 3,800 sq shop facility at Honda.

This new centre will provide maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters. These are the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which remain in service with the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force.

With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 300 TM333 and 350 Shakti, India's armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines. Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran Ardiden 1H1, co-developed with HAL and produced under license in India.