Rolls-Royce and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed a “Make in India” agreement on Tuesday to manufacture parts for Rolls-Royce’s Adour engines that will support the UK-headquartered company’s international defence customer base.
Variants of the Adour engine power the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Jaguar fighters as well as its fleet of Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJT). The IAF has the world’s largest serving fleets of both these aircraft. HAL has manufactured and supported Adour engine variants, under licence from Rolls-Royce, over several decades.
However, Rolls-Royce now aims to strengthen the spares and maintenance ecosystem for Adour engines in India. Rolls-Royce and HAL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during Aero India 2021, in February, to establish an Authorised Maintenance Centre for Adour at HAL to support international military customers and operators.
“With over 30 years’ experience of supporting repair and maintenance services for the Adour engines in India, HAL has the capability and capacity to support a large defence customer base. This is the first order for supply of spares for the Adour Global Supply chain,” said HAL chief R Madhavan. “We plan to be a key player in the supply chain of Adour engines and expect more orders to follow. We look forward to working with Rolls-Royce to build on this capability to serve global markets for supply of spares and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) of Adour engines,” he added.
Kishore Jayaraman, who heads Rolls-Royce in South Asia, said: “We are going to supply through multiple companies. HAL is only the first supplier we have signed a contract with, but we are looking at an entire supply chain ecosystem,” he said. “We are close to completing our discussions with a couple of other Indian companies. Over the next few weeks, we should be signing contracts with them as well.”
Abhishek Singh, who heads Rolls-Royce’s regional defence business, said: “Since the Adour engines would continue to serve in India for the longest time, we want to ensure that we build a supply chain that is self-sufficient, so that it can support older engines that will continue to fly in India.” He added, “In addition, multiple Adour engines are in service in Southeast Asia and in western countries such as the US, UK and others. The parts manufactured in India will find their way into our supply chains and from there to our global operators.”
“This is our first defence supplies agreement in India and creates an opportunity for India to increase its defence exports given the robust demand forecast for high precision components in this sector,” said Alex Zino of Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce underscores a three-point aim in the current initiative. The first is to equip Indian manufacturers with the knowhow, processes and experience to build complex parts that require a lot of high-technology processes. That would enhance current capabilities and serve to make India atmanirbhar (self-reliant). Secondly, exporting parts from India would enhance supply chain efficiency and benefit Rolls-Royce’s global operators. Thirdly, since the Adour engines will continue to fly in India for the longest time, a self-sufficient supply chain would be in place to support those older engines.