Airbus Helicopters has awarded a contract to Mahindra Aerostructures to make airframe parts for the AS565 MBe Panther. These parts will be produced at the Mahindra facility in Bengaluru. They will be shipped directly to the Airbus Helicopter production line in Marignane, France where they will be integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly and will form a critical part of the Panthers sold worldwide.
The contract positions Mahindra Aerostructures as the first Indian company to receive a direct manufacturing contract from Airbus Helicopters as a Tier 1 supplier. Mahindra Aerostructures will gradually emerge as the global single source supplier to Airbus Helicopters for these parts. This work package is the first amongst a series of work packages which would embed Mahindra Group firmly in the Airbus Helicopters’ global supply chain and bind the two companies in a long-term ‘Make in India’ partnership.
“We are playing an active role in the development of a helicopter-focused Indian industrial eco-system, and are embedding Indian suppliers into our global supply chain,” said Fabrice Cagnat, Director – Make in India, Airbus Helicopters. “The contract will allow us to qualify Mahindra Aerostructures as a Tier 1 supplier, establish a manufacturing relationship with them on the Panther, and also lay the ground work for a rapid acceleration in terms of industrializing production in India, in case we are selected for the Naval Utility Helicopter programme,” he added.
“We believe this manufacturing relationship will allow us to demonstrate the quality and competitiveness of Mahindra Aerostructures to Airbus Helicopters. We are already committed to become a trusted partner and supplier to the Airbus Group for airframe parts and assemblies. This contract with Airbus Helicopters signals our further commitment to work with them to develop a robust Indian ecosystem for both design and build capabilities in aerospace,” said Arvind Mehra, Executive Director & CEO, Mahindra Aerospace.
As announced earlier, Airbus Helicopters and Mahindra Defence are in the process of forming a joint venture to target India’s military helicopter programmes such as the Naval Utility Helicopter, the Naval Multi-Role Helicopter and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter. The AS565 MBe Panther is competing for the Naval Utility Helicopter programme. In case the Indian Government selects the Panther, Airbus Helicopters will establish India as a global hub for Panther production in partnership with Mahindra Defence.
Airbus Helicopters’ Panther is an all-weather, multi-role light rotorcraft, designed for operation from ship decks, offshore locations and land-based sites. It is made for a multitude of naval warfare and coast guard missions such as maritime surveillance, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, EEZ Surveillance & control counter-terrorism and Anti Surface / Anti-submarine warfare. Some 250 Panther are operated in more than 20 countries by military customers, including 100 in service with the US Coast Guard. Recently, Panther has won contracts in Indonesia and Mexico. With an unmatched state of the art 4-axis digital auto-pilot, high temperature performance, capability to carry 2 x torpedoes / depth charges and long range radar, the combat proven AS565 MBe Panther is the perfect candidate for the Indian Navy’s Naval Utility Helicopter programme.
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