On Monday, Helicopter Engines MRO Private Limited (HE-MRO), a joint venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Safran organised a ground-breaking ceremony of a new facility in Goa. With a capacity expected to repair 50 engines initially, this facility is set to become functional by the end of 2023 at Sattari which is located 40 kilometres from Panaji. According to HAL, the goal is to make sure this facility attains its full-capacity goal of repairing 150 engines in the next few years.

Construction To Begin Soon

Notably, HAL had to postpone this project earlier due to a major crisis that had impacted the international helicopter market followed by the onset of COVID-19. Under the ambit of this initiative, both HAL and Safran have now committed to a multi-year investment plan. According to officials, the construction of this facility is likely to begin soon.

CMD of HAL, R Madhavan, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines Franck Saudo and senior Indian Armed Forces officers were a part of this ceremony in Goa. Moving forward with India's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, this partnership is aimed to extend cooperation and explore opportunities for new helicopter engines in civil and military markets. The two consenting parties also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to seal the deal.

Talking about the facility, the CMD of HAL said, "The 1,000 sqm training and office facility and a 3,800 sqm international class shop facility will provide Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters to increase the operational readiness of the Indian Armed Forces."

Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran said, "With a fleet of over 1000 engines, including 250 TM333 and over 500 Shakti, India's Armed Forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines and our company powers 100 per cent of HAL produced helicopters. We support all HAL helicopter programs and will offer the level of commitment to their future projects."

Move To Boost Employment In The Region

Notably, Shakti is the Indian version of the Safran Ardiden 1H1which was co-developed with HAL. As per reports, it has produced more than 500 Shakti engines, so far. Selected to power the HAL-designed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Shakti is set up on HAL's ALH/Dhruv variants including Rudra. Certified by DGCA (India) on July 26, 2021 for civil application, this Ardiden 1U variant powers the new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) which is a three-ton single-engine aircraft.

Apart from making India self-reliant in defence technology, this joint venture is also expected to give a boost to employment in this region. Reportedly, this facility has a possibility of expansion in the future to include other programmes, creating a demand for civil or other engines in the coming years.