Safran – Serving the Indian Armed Forces for more than 60 years

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Safran Electronics & Defense, French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component and defense company, has been fulfilling the requirements of the Indian Armed forces for more than 60 years. The company is the leading supplier of inertial navigation systems for Indian combat aircraft. With its Sigma 95N navigation, Safran empowers some of the prominent fighters of Indian Air Force such as Su-30MKI, Tejas LCA, MiG-27, MiG-29, Jaguar and Hawk combat aircraft. 

Supporting ‘Make in India’ campaign, the company manufactures Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) of the Dhruv helicopter, comprising APIRS Attitude and Heading Reference Systems, Autopilot Computers and actuators in India and these can be easily maintained.

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Apart from these, Safran Electronics and Defense’s AFCS also equips Light Combat Helicopter and also been selected for Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) of HAL. Furthermore, more than 500 combat aircraft deployed by the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are equipped with the Inertial Navigation Systems.

Bonding with HAL

The relationship between HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines goes back to 1962 and an agreement is in place to produce, in India, the Artouste IIIB turbine installed in Indian versions of the Alouette III (known as Chetak) and Lama (Cheetah), more than 600 of these engines have been produced in India. Since then, this partnership has gone from strength to strength and Safran has been selected to power all subsequent HAL-developed rotorcraft.

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Being the leading supplier of turbine engines for helicopters of the Indian Armed Forces, Safran co-develop these engines with the HAL and they are called Shakti/Ardiden 1H1 engine. Being developed in HAL Bangalore under the Shakti designation, these engines were certified in 2009 and are now build with Indian-made components. This engine was first selected to power HAL’s Dhruv, now in service, and powers the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) which is in the final stages of qualification. 

Another milestone in the Safran Helicopter Engines roadmap in India will be set by the Russian Ka-226T, Russia and India reached an agreement to manufacture the Ka-226Ts in India. These rotorcrafts will be powered by Safran’s Arrius 2G1, an engine certified in 2015 and currently produced at company’s headquarters in France. Safran is looking at producing this engine in India through a partnership built around the ‘Make in India’ initiative and HE-MRO joint venture, informed by the company.

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Nitin Konde is a freelance journalist with an experience of more than a decade. Being a freelancer, he has covered various domains in his field such as Sports, Biotechnology, Defence etc. and has been associated with brands like The Times of India, Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review Magazines. Since the last three years he has been focusing and writing extensively on the defence sector, he is here to share his expertise with our readers on AviatorsBuzz.