Safran to set up a MRO facility for LEAP commercial aircraft engines in India

French aircraft engine major Safran is all set to announce a maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for leading-edge aviation propulsion (LEAP) commercial aircraft engines in India as part of its offset commitments.

The MRO facility said to be based either in Hyderabad or Bengaluru, will be announced on July 5 when Safran CEO Olivier Andres meets Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The MRO state-of-the-art facility will be set up through a 100% Indian subsidiary route that will not only service some 330 engines used by Indian commercial carriers but also Safran-GE joint venture engines from other countries in South Asia, West Asia, and Africa.

Safran to set up an MRO facility for LEAP commercial aircraft engines in India

For the facility, SAFRAN is bringing in USD 150 million foreign direct investment with plans of moving into MRO of military engines used in Indian Air Force Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters in the future to push the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative.

The French company is the supplier of M88 engines for IAF’s recently acquired 26 Rafale multi-role fighters and is also the number one helicopter engine supplier to India.

Safran to co-develop with DRDO’s GTRE

Apart from the MRO facility, the French company has also submitted a proposal to the Indian government to co-develop with DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) a new state-of-the-art 110-kilo newton thrust engine for India’s futuristic advanced medium combat aircraft twin-engine AMCA fighter project. 

Safran to co-develop with DRDO’s GTRE

The cost per engine for 400 engines will work out to 10-12 million euros, which is what we pay for engines today, said a defence expert. That will be for 400 engines, which is what we would need for twin-engine AMCAs if we have 6-7 squadrons. Will probably need more, the expert added.

The Safran offer is not subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a US regulatory regime to restrict and control the export of defence and military-related technologies to safeguard US national security and further US foreign policy objectives.

This means that the proposed Safran-GTRE joint venture will be exporting military engines to third countries without being subjected to restrictive regimes.

Tejas program with the LCA is now powered by GE-404 engines.

The French company believes that the new 110 KN engine could be certified by 2035, provided the co-development process gets a green signal this year. The full cost of co-development of the 110 KN engine will be around five to six billion euros.

While the DRDO is also looking at the GE-414 engine to power the AMCA project as an alternative, the Safran offer contains a performance guarantee and transfers all required technology for design, development, production and support besides creating a robust industrial aero-engine ecosystem in India.

The GTRE has been trying to develop the Kaveri aero-engine since 1996 and was originally developed to power Tejas LCA fighters. However, the engine was delinked from the Tejas program with the LCA now powered by GE-404 engines.

(With Inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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