French aerospace major Safran upbeat on India

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 22, 2021

Alexandre Ziegler, Senior Executive VP International and Public Affairs, Safran Group

Executes a huge pipeline of orders; plans to expand facilities, set up a €150-m MRO unit

French aerospace and defence major Safran is upbeat on India as it executes a huge pipeline of orders across civilian, defence and space and plans to expand facilities and set up a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit.

The €24.6 billion revenue company, which supplies its engines for Rafale fighter jets and LEAP family of engines for civil aviation, expects to step up sourcing to €200 million as its expands its supplier base across SMEs.

Alexandre Ziegler, Senior Executive Vice President, International and Public Affairs, Safran Group, said, “I see India and France as strong partners and Safran, with its wide range of customers, is upbeat on the business prospects both for supply of engines in civilian aircraft and also for defence, including fighter jets and helicopters.”

High expectations

“We have over 600 civil planes flying in India with our engines and have an order book of over 500 engines, which we expect to deliver over next few years. Though the aviation sector has been hit by the pandemic, we believe that it will bounce back by 2022-23. Towards this, we have set up a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad and are considering setting up of a MRO facility in India,” he told Business Line.

The MRO facility could entail an investment outlay of about €150 million. Ziegler said, “Safran has a presence in India of over 60 years in the core markets of aerospace and defense. It has a workforce off over 600 employees in the country. While expanding Safran’s footprint in India, it is committed to the “Make in India” programme fostering the development of partnerships with a wide array of customers.”

In February 2019, Safran had announced plans to set up a new plant in India near Hyderabad for the LEAP engines. During a visit to the Aero India Show, Philippe Petitcolin, Chief Executive Officer of Safran, had outlined plans to make parts for the LEAP turbofan engine from CFM International.

Production rate

When in its cruise mode by 2023, the plant is expected to deliver 15,000 parts per year to support the LEAP’s sustained production rate. The new-generation LEAP entered service in 2016 and powers Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX commercial airliners. The India plant is aimed at developing a global supply chain to support the fast-paced ramp-up in LEAP production.

Safran had already announced in 2018 the construction of a Safran Electrical & Power factory to produce LEAP engines harnesses and Rafale fighter electrical wiring interconnections systems. It is the largest provider in India for turbo-shaft engines for helicopters and powers 100 per cent of helicopters manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

India is also the largest installed base worldwide for Safran with more than 1,200 INS (Sigma family) in use and being the reference of Indian armed forces.

Indian airforce

The company is supporting the Indian Airforce with the M53 engine which is integrated in the Mirage 2000 and now the M88 with is the engine of the Rafale fighter aircraft.

“India is also a development hub for Safran. Currently has 600 employees and plan to expand the employee base with the new cluster in Hyderabad,” he said.

Published on January 21, 2021

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