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Airbus Helicopters Indian footprint strong despite challenges

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By Sangeeta Saxena

Quepem, Goa. 01 April, 2016. With the mantraThink Global, Make Local’ European major Airbus Helicopters is sure of its role in the Make in India crusade of the government and is optimistic of fulfilling the rotary need of the Indian Armed Forces.

Xavier Hay, ‎Managing Director Airbus Helicopters India reiterated that India’s  requirements for National Utility Helicopters (NUH) and Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopters (RSH) will be a great opportunity to generate sufficient critical mass to enable its long-term sustainability. Airbus Helicopters has been selected as preferred bidder by ICG with the H225M. He was speaking to journalists in a pre-Defexpo event and the optimism was palpable.

Airbus Helicopters has decided to setup a Joint Venture Company (‘JVC’) with the objective to become the Private Strategic Partner on helicopter platforms.  Mahindra Defence & Airbus Helicopters are planning to establish in India a state-of-the-art industrial cluster to locally produce and deliver Panther (AS365 MBe) in response to the 110 Naval Utility Helicopters (‘NUH’), Fennec (H125M) 200+ Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopters (‘RSH’) and Caracal (H225M) for the foreseen 120+ Naval Multi Role Helicopters (‘NMRH’).

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Xavier said that Airbus Helicopters will build local assembly lines if these projects come through. Airbus has offered the government to shift its final assembly line to India. These choppers will be built at a cost of over Rs.5,000 crore and will create over 10,000 high skilled jobs. Transfer  of  State of the Art technologies from Airbus Helicopters & its suppliers will not be an issue, he said.

On the civilian needs of India he claimed Airbus Helicopters is a market  leader and is now all set to venture into the MRO sector. Pawan Hans Limited is discussing with Airbus Helicopters to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Juhu airport, Mumbai soon. With helicopter fleet of Pawan Hans likely to go up from present 45 helicopters to 145 in the next 10 years and also the rotor industry growing in India, the MRO will provide quick after service.

Enhancement of competence in life cycle management of helicopters together with Indian companies including DPSU’s & MSME’s, will be their aim plus. Ensuring self reliance & competiveness of the Indian helicopter manufacturing ecosystem, Airbus Helicopters plans to strengthen its footprint in India.

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