The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to move forward with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's proposed project of helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in Goa, which failed to take off despite its announcement in 2016. Talking to PTI on Thursday, Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said he would "revive" the proposed project, for which land has already been acquired.
Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced this project in October 2016. It was proposed to be set up at Honda village in Sattari taluka of North Goa. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru and the French company, Safran Helicopter Engines, had entered into a joint venture - Helicopter Engine MRO Private Limited - to set up this helicopter maintenance plant in Goa.
"The project was announced, but it is yet to take off. I will revive it. If there is an issue with the agreement with the France-based company, then we can have a tie-up with any other similar company after terminating the earlier commitment," Naik said.
"The land required for the facility has already been procured and it needs to start immediately...I will have to go through the agreement," he added. As per the plan, the facility is expected to have a total investment of Rs 170 crore. It will be invested by both the parties in a phased manner.
It is about maintenance, repair and overhaul of engines that are fitted on HAL-designed and manufactured helicopters. "The engines of advanced light helicopters of various versions, light combat helicopters and future light utility helicopters that are common between HAL and Safran will be maintained at this facility," he said.
With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and 250 Shakti, India's armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines. Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran Ardiden 1H1, co-developed with HAL and produced under license.
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