Safran Aircraft Engines: fully committed to "Make in India"
The visit was the day after the official handover of the first Rafale to the Indian Air Force at Dassault Aviation's Mérignac facility in France. The ceremony was attended by Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces, and Éric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.(See Press Release).
The Indian delegation was especially interested in the assembly line where we make the M88, the engine designed and built by Safran Aircraft Engines for the Dassault Aviation Rafale. The engine's exceptional performance — up to 7.5 tons of thrust with afterburner — is a direct result of our company's expertise, as reflected in advanced technologies such as blisks (integrally bladed disks) and powder-metallurgy disks, ceramic coated single-crystal high-pressure turbine blades and microstructural composites. Deployed from 2007 in Afghanistan, the M88-powered Rafale took part in Operation Harmattan in Libya in 2011 and has since been involved in interventions in Mali and Iraq. The maneuverability and carefree handling afforded by the M88 were widely recognized in these theaters of operations.
The M88 has clocked up more than 700,000 flight hours since 2004 and powers the Rafales operated by the French Air Force and Navy. It will also power the aircraft ordered by the Rafale consortium's three export customers: Egypt, which has ordered 24 aircraft, Qatar 36 and India 36. With 96 Rafales ordered by export countries to date, export sales now equate to more than half of France's order for 180 aircraft. As a result of these international successes, Safran Aircraft Engines has launched a program to modernize our industrial facilities and triple our production capacities for the M88 engine.
Partnering Make in India
Olivier Andriès reiterated the importance of the partnership between Safran Aircraft Engines and India in the civil sector. "Most India-based airlines are customers, since they operate CFM56 and/or LEAP engines." The number of commercial aircraft engines in service in India currently stands at 468 CFM56s and 112 LEAPs. The CEO also hailed the contract officially signed with Indian carrier IndiGo at the Paris Air Show to supply LEAP-1A engines for 280 A320neo planes.
Safran Aircraft Engines is fully committed to the Make in India policy championed by New Delhi. This initiative aims to foster major partnerships in India and attract local investment by outside companies.
Safran Aircraft Engines is actively involved in Make in India through our joint company with HAL — which produces pipes for commercial aircraft engines and is currently relocating to Bangalore — and a new facility in Hyderabad, opening in July 2020, which will make rotating parts for the LEAP.
Safran Aircraft Engines is also working through Safran Engineering Services India and a network of in-country suppliers, which will now have access to global markets through their role on the LEAP program. "These entities are helping us develop a local supply chain for the LEAP in India," said Olivier Andriès. In aftersales support, Safran Aircraft Engines also operates a training center in Hyderabad, which delivers training for over 500 maintenance technicians a year.
World's third-largest market
Olivier Andriès said that a new India maintenance facility is being discussed. "India is set to become the third-largest market for commercial aviation. So for us, it makes sense to have a local MRO facility directly serving our Indian customers."
"We're keen for India to share in the LEAP's success," he added. "The ecosystem we're building around our commercial engines will be a decisive enabler for the production of military engines in India. All these initiatives are also helping us meet the offset obligations we committed to as part of the Rafale contract."