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Makila 2A engine

In a significant step toward enhancing India’s defence capabilities, Safran, the French aerospace and defence company, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India’s premier aerospace company, are set to initiate a joint venture (JV) for the development of a new engine for the 13-ton Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) program. This collaborative effort is poised to commence next month, with HAL’s Tumakuru facility serving as the hub for the engine’s development activities. The venture promises to be a game-changer for India’s defence capabilities.

In the Safran-HAL partnership, the workload is evenly split, with both companies contributing equally, sharing a 50:50 work share. The partnership is aimed at equipping the IMRH program with a cutting-edge engine that meets the unique and demanding requirements set by the Indian military.

An essential point to note is that the engine’s development will not be based on any existing engine. Instead, it will be an entirely new and bespoke creation tailored to meet the precise needs of the IMRH program.

HAL’s involvement in this project extends to the development of two variants of the engine. The first variant will be designed for use in the Air Force and Army variants of the IMRH. The second variant will be specifically engineered for the Deck-Based Multi-Role Helicopter (DBMRH), intended to fulfil the Indian Navy’s requirements for a ship-borne helicopter. This helicopter is designed to be armed with anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons systems, necessitating an engine capable of delivering higher power output.

The IMRH program, featuring the newly developed engine, is expected to make substantial progress in the coming years. With the initiation of the Safran-HAL joint venture, work on the engine’s core will commence, setting the stage for the IMRH’s development. The program aims to introduce the new engine by 2031, promising a transformative impact on India’s multi-role helicopter capabilities.

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