Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a workshare agreement for the cooperative development of the engine designed for the future 13-ton IMRH (Indian Multi-Role Helicopter) and DBMRH (it’s navy variant) (Deck Based Multi-Role Helicopter).

This agreement continues the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed on July 8, 2022. It mandates sharing activities within the joint venture where both parties have agreed to an equal division.

In particular, HAL will participate in the design, development, and production of some of the engine’s basic components, representing a milestone in the country’s experience and know-how.

This agreement was signed by Mr. Florent Chauvancy, EVP of Sales and Marketing for Safran Helicopter Engines, and Mr. K Ramesh, General Manager of the HAL Aero Engine Research and Design Centre, in the presence of Mr. Shri C. B. Ananthakrishnan, CMD of HAL, and Mr. Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines.

HAL unveiled at Aero India 2023 a 1/3 size model of the IMRH helicopter, which is still undergoing development. In addition, discussions with the Indian Armed Forces continue regarding the operating requirements for this new aircraft.

HAL and Safran Move Forward in Partnership for Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) Engine
The future Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) and its naval variant, the Deck-Based Multi-Role Helicopter (DBMRH), will be powered by new turboshaft egines to be jointly developed by India’s HAL and France’s Safran. (Photo by Safran)

Mr. Franck Saudo remarked, “We are very glad to be affiliated with such a significant program of the Indian Ministry of Defense and delighted to support HAL, our partner for decades, once again. While this program will introduce advanced technologies to the Indian aerospace sector and HAL, it will also deliver state-of-the-art solutions to the Indian Military Forces.

Mr. Shri C. B. Ananthakrishnan commented, “The combined development of a high-power engine with Safran Helicopter Engines is a new milestone in HAL’s ever-expanding capabilities in the field. We are certain that the engine will suit the tough and demanding needs of Indian Defense clients.

The availability of an indigenous engine will increase the platform’s self-reliance content and highlight Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL’s commitment to the Indian Government’s aim of “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” or establishing self-reliance – particularly in defense technologies.

In the following months, Safran and HAL will continue to work on creating this joint venture, which aims to create engines not just for the IMRH but also other helicopters.

The parties also agreed on the conditions for transferring manufacturing rights for seven crucial forging and casting raw parts to HAL to increase the indigenous content of the Shakti engine used in the Dhruv and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) programs.