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In a significant boost to India’s aerospace ambitions, Cédric Goubet, the CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines, has recently confirmed to Indian media the collaboration between Safran and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to develop a groundbreaking new engine. This 3,000 shp engine will be specifically designed to power HAL’s proposed IRMH (Indian Multi-Role Helicopter), an impressive 13-ton Medium Utility helicopter.

The new engine, as affirmed by Goubet, will not be a mere variant but a brand-new design, drawing upon Safran’s extensive experience and expertise in engine development.

The collaboration between Safran and HAL is structured on a 50:50 workshare, reflecting a true partnership where both entities will pool their resources, knowledge, and technological prowess to develop the new engine program. Additionally, HAL will be actively involved in the development of certain components of the Hot Section (Core) of the engine, further cementing India’s role in this landmark endeavour.

To house this cutting-edge engine development program, a new state-of-the-art factory will be established on the outskirts of Bangalore, potentially near Tumakuru, where HAL already has a dedicated Helicopter facility. This strategic location will foster seamless collaboration between the teams and facilitate the seamless integration of the new engine into HAL’s proposed IRMH and other upcoming helicopter projects like LUH (Light Utility Helicopter) and Ka-226 Helicopters.

The first flight of IMRH has been planned somewhere around 2027 and Deck based variant of IMRH with a high All up weight of 14 tons might have its first flight by 2029-30. IMRH will be replacing Russian Mi-17I Medium Utility helicopters from 2032-33 onwards and the Indian Armed forces have combined requirements for nearly 400 Helicopters that will be manufactured under the SPV model between HAL and Private sector companies in the country.

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