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Update: France, India to co-develop new engine for IMRH

A computer rendering of HAL's Indian Multi Role Helicopter. (HAL-Safran)

France and India have agreed to co-develop a new engine for the Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH) project.

The 13–16 tonne IMRH is being conceived as a replacement for Mil Mi-17 utility helicopters, which form the mainstay of the Indian military's heavy-utility rotorcraft fleet.

Speaking to Janes , Franck Saudo, the CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines, said that the 50-50 joint development of the engine is covered under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 8 July between Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The MOU will extend the continuing partnership of the two companies through the establishment of a new aero-engine company in India.

According to Safran, this company will be dedicated to the development, production, sales, and support of helicopter engines in India. “One of its main objectives will be to meet the requirements of HAL's and India's Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) future helicopters,” a joint HAL-Safran statement said.

“The development of the engine is embedded in this 50-50 joint venture,” Saudo said.

According to him, the MOU “kicks off” the project. “This sets the strategic alignment [of the project]. From now on, we will work on establishing the joint venture,” he said.

He added that HAL will hold the type certificate for the engine upon completion of the developmental project.

An industry source told Janes that the development of the engine will require at least three years as it is contingent on integration with the IMRH design being developed by HAL.

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