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Safran-HAL to collaborate on new aircraft engines

The Indian Multi Role Helicopter is intended to replace the Indian military's fleet of ageing Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

India and France are slated to expand their defence co-operation to support the joint development of new engines for the 13 ton Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH) programme and combat aircraft.

On 13 July Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on his website that France and India “will extend their … defence co-operation in advanced aeronautical technologies by supporting the joint development of a combat aircraft engine”. A day later, on 14 July, Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that they would also set up a new joint venture (JV) company to develop an engine for the IMRH programme.

Modi said the JV is part of the ongoing “sharing and joint development of critical components and technology building blocks, based on the successful Indo-French experience in technology transfer”. According to Modi, Safran and HAL have concluded a shareholders' agreement to “enable progress” on the IMRH programme.

Safran had not responded to a request for comment on a possible joint development of a combat aircraft engine at the time of publication.

The new IMRH-related JV company will be set up in the Indian city of Bangalore. It will be focused on “design, development, production, sales, and support of helicopter engines,” Safran said in a statement on 14 July.

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