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India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-owned aerospace company, and French multinational aerospace and defense company Safran have successfully concluded discussions regarding a workshare agreement for the development of a new engine. This engine will power India’s upcoming 13-ton Indian Multi-Role Helicopters (IMRH) for the Indian Armed Forces. In the next few months, work on the engine is expected to commence, with the developmental phase taking place at Safran’s facility in France.

Acknowledging the importance of intellectual property rights (IPR) for India, HAL officials have confirmed that talks are ongoing to ensure India’s ownership of the engine’s IPR. This crucial aspect aims to facilitate the transfer of technology (ToT) and the local manufacturing of the engine in India without any difficulties. By securing IPR, India can exercise complete control over the design and manufacturing processes of the engine, bolstering the country’s self-reliance in defense production.

The Indian Armed Forces have expressed their combined requirements for 400 IMRH-class helicopters, which may be needed to replace the aging Russian Mi-17i helicopters in service starting from 2030. The IMRH is poised to become a critical asset for the armed forces, catering to a wide range of missions such as troop transportation, combat support, and disaster relief operations. The collaboration between HAL and Safran aims to ensure that the IMRH is equipped with a high-performance and reliable engine specifically tailored to the needs of India’s armed forces.

HAL has outlined an ambitious timeline for the IMRH project, with plans to commence flight trials by 2024-25. This rigorous testing phase will allow engineers and pilots to evaluate the helicopter’s performance, reliability, and overall suitability for operational use. Following successful flight trials, HAL aims to initiate full-scale production of the IMRH by 2028-29, ensuring a steady supply of these advanced helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.

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