New helicopter manufacturing factory may help HAL to venture into rotary UAV production, says GlobalData
Following the news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) new helicopter manufacturing facility in Tumakuru, Karnataka;
Tushar Mangure, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“With the development and expansion of supply chain infrastructure involving small and medium enterprises, aided by technology infusion by leading global players, HAL has been able to establish itself as a prominent player in the military rotorcraft domain over the last decade. The company recently signed an MoU with Safran Helicopter Engines to set up a joint venture (JV) for the design and production of a new generation of helicopter engine for the Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH).
“The inauguration of the new plant will facilitate the large-scale production of rotorcrafts to meet the requirements of the Indian armed forces. The overall requirement of light and medium helicopters by the Indian Armed Forces over the next 15 years is approximately 1,200. This includes IMRH (≈550), Light Utility Helicopter (≈190), Light Combat Helicopter (≈170), and Naval Multi-role Helicopters (≈120), Naval Utility Helicopters (≈110), and additional Dhruv’s. IMRH is anticipated to replace the ageing fleet Mi-8 and older variants of Mi-17 in-service with the Indian Air Force (IAF). According to GlobalData’s Military Rotorcraft 2022-2032 dataset, India is anticipated to spend approximately $24 billion on combat, transport & utility, and maritime helicopters from 2022 to 2032.
“Due to the enormous requirement, HAL might need to scale up the production to the maximum capacity at the earliest, albeit timely project approvals and orders from the government. In addition, the armed forces also need to ensure that the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) are well defined and are not altered frequently.
“Apart from production, the new facility may also assist in the modernization and overhaul of in-service helicopters. It may also play a vital role in the manufacturing of rotary UAVs for undertaking Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), logistics, and combat operations. The manufacturing plant’s proximity to HAL’s development centers in Bangalore and Chitradurga Aeronautical Test Range, a testing and evaluation facility for unmanned systems, also offers significant advantages in the initial development phase of rotary unmanned systems.
“HAL is engaged in the development of RUAV-200, a new rotary UAV, to facilitate high-altitude logistics operations. It is also developing the Naval Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in partnership with Malat Solutions, a unit of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Considering the immense potential for adoption of RUAV’s in maritime role and high-altitude operations, the large-scale procurement of these systems is imminent in the near future.
“The new facility will initially produce the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. In the preliminary phase, the factory is expected to manufacture around 30 helicopters per year. However, the annual capacity can be enhanced to 60 or 90 units based on contractual obligations.”
Source : GlobalData