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‘Indian industry must build MRO capability with reverse engineering’

Anil Urs Yelahanka Air Force Station | Updated on February 21, 2019

Upgradation of Mi-17 helicopters holds huge opportunities, says Air Marshal Shera

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has challenges to maintain ageing aircraft and Indian Industry needs to build capability in reverse engineering, said Air Marshal RKS Shera, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, Indian Air Force.

Addressing FICCI’s technical session on MRO Opportunities and Simulators, Air Marshal Shera said that military aviation overhaul is very different from civil aviation. The depth of overhaul in the military is much higher.

Flexible processes

He said that about 700 vendors are engaged with IAF Base Repair Depots (BRDs) and industry has far more opportunities before it. He emphasised that industry, R&D and academia need to come under one roof to find path-breaking solutions in MRO.

Upgradation of Mi-17 helicopters will offer huge opportunities to Indian industry, he said. Air Marshal Shera emphasised that Life Enhancement Programmes should be a continuous effort of IAF and will be critical to stimulate the MRO Industry.

Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, Indian Air force, remarked that the IAF has moved a long way from the time when parts of all aircraft were imported.

He said that today systems and processes are more flexible than earlier, when the IAF was forced to import all aircraft components as OEMs never gave clearance. Today CEMILAC, which is the single window for quality certification, has the capability of certifying and issuing clearance for any aircraft component.

Strategic partnership

He said that with the changing scenario in the procurement policy, where strategic partnerships will be the major route for manufacturing and procurement of aircraft by India, production of parts will be done with emphasis on technology development.

The strategy of setting up aircraft production will decide the MRO strategies and opportunities.

He also said that simulators have a huge market and are an essential part of training, where the private sector can play a huge role. He encouraged the simulator players to build capabilities after appropriate tie-ups with OEMs.

Level-playing field

JD Patil, Chairman, FICCI Defence Committee and Whole-Time Director and Member of the Board, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, highlighted that policy reforms by the Ministry of Defence, such as delicensing of many items, give a level-playing field to the private sector with Defence PSUs and global OEMs.

Announcement of Defence Corridors and access of the private sector to test ranges and government labs to pursue their R&D efforts will help start-ups and established MSMEs, he added.

Sudhakar Gande, Co-Chair, FICCI Defence Committee and Vice-Chairman, Axiscades Aerospace & Technologies Ltd, also shared his perspectives on the topic and thanked the speakers from the armed forces and industry for detailing the opportunities and strategies to build a robust MRO industry in India.

Published on February 21, 2019

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