Boeing on May 5 announced a significant scaling up of the MRO facilities within India for the Indian Navy’s fleet of P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The companies will carry out extensive MRO works on a total of three P-8I aircraft at the Air Works facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, India.
Three Indian Navy Boeing P8Is are simultaneously undergoing heavy maintenance checks at the Hosur facility of Air Works, India’s largest aviation MRO, to demonstrate the growing capability to service these mission-critical platforms in India.
The P8I is the Indian Navy’s most capable surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. The induction of the P8I fleet in 2013 is widely regarded as a game-changer for India’s maritime capabilities. Nine of these aircraft have been delivered and three more are in the pipeline.
The Boeing-Air Works collaboration is meant to enable faster turnaround and enhanced operational capability of key defence platforms.
“The partnership began with the first P-8I aircraft Phase 32 checks and has grown to include Phase 48 checks and MRO on the landing gear of the Indian Air Force’s 737 VVIP aircraft,” Boeing stated.
The world’s largest aerospace company is increasing MRO availability for its platforms in India as an illustration of its alignment with India’s self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) quest.
Boeing’s “strategic collaboration” with Air Works is an important first step under the Boeing India Repair Development and Sustainment (BIRDS) hub launched last year. The BIRDS hub envisions a collaboration with key local companies and businesses to develop India into an aviation and defence repair and sustainment hub.
“Maintaining such mission-critical platforms for the nation’s defence forces is a matter of immense pride for Air Works. At the same time, it also reflects the “coming-of-age” or maturing of indigenous MRO capabilities in aviation, defence and aerospace, which can deliver huge advantages for the country.”D. Anand Bhaskar, Managing Director & CEO, Air Works Group
Bhaskar wants the partnership to extend to other critical Boeing Defence platforms used by India’s armed forces.
Established in 1951, Air Works has a pan-India network across 27 cities and provides MRO support to Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 fleets besides the ATR 42/72 family. It is also an Authorized Service Centre (ASC) for Bell and Leonardo helicopters and undertakes modification and assembly of rotary-wing aircraft.
“The ongoing satisfactory execution of heavy maintenance checks on three P-8I platforms concurrently by Air Works is a remarkable achievement. Such efforts contribute towards the Government’s vision of making India an MRO hub for the region.”Surendra Ahuja, Managing Director, Boeing Defence India
Boeing has an Indian supply chain with more than 275 local companies and a joint venture to manufacture fuselages for Apache helicopters. The US firm employs close to 4,000 people in India, and more than 7,000 people work with its supply chain partners. Annual sourcing from India stands at USD 1 billion.
Boeing India and Air Works intend to commemorate their collaboration at the Boeing India Aatmanirbharta in Defence conference being organized in New Delhi with participation from dignitaries from the Indian Navy, Air Works Group, and other key supplier-partners.
Recently, Boeing delivered the 12th and the last aircraft to the Indian Ministry of Defence.
The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet. In May 2021, the US State Department approved the proposed sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment, a deal estimated to cost 2.42 billion dollars.