Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and France’s Safran Helicopters Engines inaugurated a jointly-owned maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility to support the Turbomeca TM333 2B2 and Turbomeca-HAL Shakti turboshafts in use in India (via the HAL Dhruv, Cheetah, and Chetak).
As per an official press release by HAL, the MRO facility was raised in Sattari District in North Goa.
The new facility is expected to “improve customer satisfaction through improved serviceability, reduced cycle time for [repair and overhaul], availability of spares, troubleshooting, field support and modifications to overcome design deficiencies.”
In addition to supporting the domestic user base, the facility will also be geared to support overseas users as well, including other Safran turboshaft models. Certified Maintenance Centers for onsite support will also be established several bases in India (no specific mention of whether these will be limited to just government or defence users).
Notes & Comments:
Safran will also be playing a key role in channeling investment into India via the agreed-upon commercial offset obligations accompanying the Dassault Rafale purchase for the Indian Air Force. In fact, Safran had reportedly offered to invest $1.12 billion U.S. in the Kaveri, India’s homegrown turbofan program.
While the capital has essentially come from India (to pay for the Rafale), Safran’s input could be valuable for the aero-engine maker’s long-established expertise and existing technology intellectual property, the infusion of which could help the Kaveri overcome its final developmental thresholds.
The HAL-Safran MRO facility was to be expected considering the amount of adoption the TM333 2B2 and Shakti are seeing in India. That said, the push to secure third-party contracts from overseas users, many which could be in the private sector, will be a key metric to observe. Growth in that respect could enable the Government of India and Safran to accrue direct returns – and profit – off the facility.