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HAL, Safran sign MOU for helicopter engine co-operation

India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Aircraft Engines have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore opportunities for new helicopter engines in civil and military markets.

The agreement was signed during a ground-breaking ceremony for a new joint HAL-Safran maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility called the Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Limited (HE-MRO) on 14 March. The facility is being built at Sattari, Goa, in India.

The agreement reflects deepening ties between the two companies. It follows talks between HAL and Safran to jointly develop a 125 kN engine for India's fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

According to HAL's chairman and managing director, R Madhavan, the HE-MRO will have a 1,000 m 2 training and office space, and a 3,800 m 2 shop space.

β€œ[This] will provide maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for Safran TM333 and HAL Shakti engines,” he said during the event.

According to HAL, the HE-MRO will be operational by the end of 2023 with a capacity to repair 50 engines a year and a full-capacity goal of 150 engines in later years. β€œThe facility has an expansion capacity for other programmes and could include civil or other engines in the future,” HAL added in a statement.

The company said that the joint facility will employ more than 60 qualified engineers and technicians in the region.

The HE-MRO project was postponed because of the collapse of the international helicopter market in 2020. HAL said that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a further delay. The company added that HAL and Safran have committed to a multi-year investment plan for the facility.

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