Friday, 21 April 2017

Rolls-Royce sets up Bengaluru facility to support military aircraft engine fleet

Significant move, given concerns over Sukhoi-30 and MiG-29 engines

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st Apr 17

Rolls-Royce has opened a facility in Bengaluru to support the 750 Rolls-Royce engines that power Indian military aircraft, and provide repair and service to engines that urgently require it.

The UK-based engine giant announced on Thursday that its so-called Defence Service Delivery Centre (SDC) in Bengaluru will provide the army and navy with “fleet management, services engineering and supply chain co-ordination. It will also be the base from which Field Service Representatives can be rapidly dispatched to frontline bases, subject to contract coverage, to provide on-ground technical support.”

With the Indian Air Force (IAF) having publicly acknowledged concerns over the serviceability and in-flight failure of Russian engines that power the Sukhoi-30MKI; and given unacknowledged concerns over the engines on the navy’s MiG-29K, Rolls-Royce’s engine support initiative is significant.

The SDC aims at increasing the serviceability of 750 Rolls-Royce engines that power aircraft in service with the IAF, navy and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

These aircraft engines include: the Adour, which powers the Hawk advanced jet trainer and the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft; the Gnome engine that powers the navy’s Sea King helicopters; the Dart, which powers the air force’s HS-748 Avro transport and communications aircraft; and the AE2100 and AE3007 engines that power the C-130J Super Hercules and the Embraer 145 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft respectively.

HAL’s Engine Division in Bengaluru has decades of experience in building Rolls-Royce engines under licence, which have powered India’s serving and retired aircraft.

Said a Rolls-Royce official today: “This Service Delivery Centre has been configured specifically for the Indian Armed Forces and HAL with Bangalore being a logical location close to Engine Division [of HAL]. Overall this contributes to the broader “Make in India” agenda through skills development and increasing self-sufficiency. The overriding goal is to improve availability of ‘engines-on-the-wing’ through a step change improvement of in-country responsiveness for current fleets as well as for future Defence programmes.”

Rolls-Royce has earlier successfully implemented this model of logistic support by setting up and operating SDCs at the Royal Air Force base at Marham, UK; and in the US Navy base at Kingsville, Texas.

Rolls-Royce features in most years in the world’s top four engine companies, along with Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Safran. Besides aero engines, it does a significant proportion of its business in marine engines. The Bengaluru SDC, however, supports only aerospace engines.

Over the years, as India’s military opted for predominantly Russian aircraft, Rolls-Royce’s share of the Indian market has dwindled. There was disappointment in the company recently at not having a suitable product to offer for the air force’s proposed upgrade of the Jaguar fighter engine. However, with HAL building and upgrading the Hawk trainer in India, and planning to export it to regional buyers in partnership with its original manufacturer, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce is expecting more business.

The Centre was officially inaugurated by Mr Dominic McAllister, British Deputy High Commissioner, Bengaluru.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing how we have problems with russian engines. Chinese, Iraninans and PAF have been using the same russian engines without any issues. In the case of PAF they use a single RD-93 on their jf17s. What is wrong with our engineers?

Prasun

SSanon said...

@anon 21 April 15:05

I think they have similar problems. They hide their problems to put up an image of readiness, where as our armed services are more transparent about their issues.

SSanon said...

...to add to my earlier commment. Americans have similar issues. I remember reading that close to 50% of F-18's aren't ready for combat at any given time. But the American media and public don't raise any unnecessary storm over these things.

Anonymous said...

The fact is Russia does does not have reliable engine technology. Can anything be done to improve the engine life and reliability of the Russian engines and parts avaibility is another problem and unless this is sorted out India should not buy any more Russian planes. The problem is same for china and Pakistan who also depend on Russian engines. High performance engines are difficult to desiegn and it is better idea to desiegn for commercial use planes and engines.boeing desiegner 747 in twenty eight months in mid sixties and world war game changer plane P 51 mustang was built as prototype in 102 days which was improved and had revolutionary technology of scoop underbelly using Meredith principle. HTT 40 built up was a great effort but nothing close to the efforts that I stated before. To desiegn air superiority fighter the timeline was 44 moths and so it is high time that something done in India to change that. It is important to test HTT 40 and start commercial production and arm it so that large number of pilots can be trained quickly. HJT 36 has serious problems , first unrivaled single Russian untested engine . Try out tests with The HAL desiegned engines H 25 and hopefully that should sort out the problem. The tail section needs to be redesigned and give winglets to the wing tips and it should make the plane fly reliably. Other alternative is try F125 engine from Honeywell which is a reliable engine. Complete the work on Saras and then try to built medium range 40 seater and then 100 seater turbojet and then built medium transport aircraft. China has that capability and India needs to built that capability and the leadership needs to encourage that and soon it needs to develop and eventually improve the capability. Tejas needs a very powerful electronic warfare capability , powerful engine , I don't understand why they need two years to replace the engine to GE 414 as just quickly built tejas MK2 and add more fuel capacity and with two drop tanks should have significant range and flying time. The new AESA radar with laser pod needs to be placed and long range missiles needs to be integrated.

TIMBAKTOO

Anonymous said...

India does not make engines and will not be ready at least until 2030-2040.

Very smart move by RR. Keeps jobs in India, profits to the UK and in a prime position for current and future deals. They can also say "we invested in India".