To focus on needs of helicopter segment

K.R. Srivats

New Delhi, Aug. 29

Rolls-Royce Corporation plans to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to build a long-term strategic relationship to meet the business needs in the area of helicopters.

"We hope to have a joint roadmap by the end of this year. The MoU would spell out the focus areas," said Mr Scott A. Crislip, President (Helicopter and Small Turbine Engines), Rolls-Royce Corporation.

Helicopters are one of the principal market sectors of Rolls-Royce's defence aerospace business. Mr Crislip is on a short visit to India to hold talks with industry, including the top brass of HAL.

On whether the proposed MoU would lead to the setting up of any joint venture with HAL, Mr Crislip said: "We don't have any preconceived ideas of what the solution should be. We have to work with partners to find joint solutions. There are tremendous growth opportunities for helicopters here. This is one of the reasons why we want to be early entrants in the Indian market and have good partners."

Rolls-Royce Corporation, which is a long-term supplier of aero-engines to the Indian military, is currently in the race for bagging the 197-unit Army helicopter requirement.

The company has partnered with Bell Helicopters for the Army order. The Rolls-Royce model 250-C47S engine would power the Bell 407 that is being offered to the Army.

The first phase of the programme involves the delivery of 60 commercial off-the-shelf Rolls-Royce model 250-C47S engines for the Bell helicopters.

The subsequent three phases of the programme involve local assembly and co-production of an additional 137 engines with HAL.

"We are anticipating commercial bid opening in the next 60 days for the 197 helicopters requirement," said Mr Jim Payton, Director (OEM Sales and International Business Development), Rolls-Royce.

Rolls Royce has had a licence-manufacturing partnership with HAL since 1956.

HAL has been manufacturing the Adour Mk811 for the Jaguar since 1978.

HAL would also licence manufacture the Adour 871 for the new Hawk AJT.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 30, 2006)
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