India to make indigenous chopper engine jointly with France
NEW DELHI, ($1=75.57 Indian Rupees) – India may soon begin production of engines for local Indian helicopters, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing information provided by Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
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Minister Singh revealed in a report to The Hindu that French Defense Minister Florence Parly “has agreed to build an engine with us, one that is not produced in India”. According to the Indian Minister of Defense, a French company is expected to “step” in India and in the form of industrial cooperation with an Indian manufacturer to begin work on the development and production of the engine.
The strategic partnership involves co-production by the original equipment manufacturer and an Indian company.
The statement by the Indian Minister of Defense comes a day after he and his French counterpart Florence Parly held an open dialogue on defense and security, which is essentially an annual one. Comments in the Indian press about the expected future production of engines have been raised, noting that in recent years Rajnat Singh has managed to persuade French companies to either co-produce with Indians in the country or share technology from the defense industry.
Following Rajnat Singh’s statement, speculations began about the participants and the type of engine in future production. Analysts note that it is the French company Safran and the state-owned Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL], between which talks are currently underway.
India hopes to build its helicopter under the Made in India program, to replace the existing fleet of Russian Mi-17 helicopters. Future production of helicopter engines will have to serve mainly medium-weight helicopters.
It is a 13-ton combat helicopter, currently being developed by HAL, which will be a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission chopper. Helicopter engine production is expected to boost the Indian economy, as assuming that India will replace existing Russian helicopters with its own, we are talking about more than 250 aircraft.
The replacement of Russian helicopters with Indian ones will take place at different stages and will have to start in 2028, the last ones being those that were delivered in 2011.
The HAL also plans to manufacture a medium-weight combat helicopter in the future, which will rival the American Apache currently in service with the IAF.
It will also offer a naval variant to the Indian Navy, which is also in need of medium-weight choppers.
‘Made in India’ wings for Lockheed’s F-16
As we reported on December 10, the American aerospace company Lockheed Martin has approved the Indian plant Tata-Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) for the production of wings for F-16 fighters.
The joint venture with the Tata plant will serve the global Lockheed Martin fighter market. It is noted that the Indian plant, located at 21,000 square meters. m will be able to produce 50 pairs of wings per year.
Such wings will have a service life of 12,000 hours and can be mounted on all F-16 fighters. Lockheed Martin noted that the production of wings is a technologically challenging task and noted the importance of this process in the entire production cycle of F-16 fighter jets.
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