Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have announced a collaboration to establish a joint venture company in Bangalore, India.

This partnership aims to ‘revolutionise’ helicopter engine design, development, production, sales, and support, primarily focusing on creating advanced propulsion solutions for the Indian Ministry of Defence’s future multi-role helicopters.

By combining their resources, Safran and HAL will try to transform India’s aerospace industry and reinforce its vision of self-reliance in defence technologies. Establishing this joint venture is a landmark in the enduring relationship between Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL.

Following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in July 2022 and subsequent workshare negotiations during Aero India 2023, the two companies have achieved a dynamic work cycle that paves the way for India’s first in-house engine design and manufacturing.

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Expressing his enthusiasm, Mr Cedric Goubet, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines, stated, “We are truly elated to partner with HAL and India in crafting this new turboshaft engine joint venture, aimed at addressing the Indian market and future export opportunities.

This marks a turning point in our longstanding relationship with HAL and demonstrates the deepening ties between India and France. Together, we are committed to designing and producing new-generation, high-performance helicopter engines while prioritising the satisfaction of our customers in India.”

Mr C.B. Ananthkrishnan, CMD of HAL, also shared his perspective: “Safran Helicopter Engines has been our valued partner for several decades. We are embarking on a new journey, leveraging HAL’s extensive experience in manufacturing various aircraft and helicopter engines, combined with Safran Helicopter Engines’ expertise in turboshaft engine design.

Our objective is to co-develop and co-produce turboshaft engines in India, with an immediate focus on the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) and Deck-Based Multi-Role Helicopter (DBMRH). This partnership will engage and harness the Indian Defense manufacturing ecosystem, contributing to the realisation of our Honorable Prime Minister’s vision for a self-reliant India.”

According to “The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2023-2033” report from GlobalData, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will capture 11.7% of the market in Asia-Pacific with forecast revenue of $9.2 billion between 2023 and 2033.

Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL have already forged successful partnerships in helicopter powerplants, including the renowned Shakti engine, which propels HAL-produced helicopters such as the Dhruv, Rudra, and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH Prachand). With over 500 Shakti engines already manufactured, the new joint venture expands the scope of their collaboration.

With the LCH Prachand, India successfully designed, developed and manufactured a modern combat helicopter containing approximately 45% indigenous content by value, which will progressively increase to more than 55% for the series production version, according to GlobalData’s “India Defence Market 2023-2028” report.

Additionally, through the HE-MRO joint venture based in Goa, Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL will provide comprehensive maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for TM333 and Shakti engines in service with the Indian Armed Forces. This ensures the longevity and optimal performance of these assets, enhancing the operational readiness of the defence fleet.