Indian Rotorcraft

Indian Rotorcraft Limited (IRL) is a company specialising in the manufacture of helicopters within India for the global market. Established in 2010, it is operated as a joint venture between Indian conglomerate Tata Sons and AngloItalian defense company Leonardo S.p.A.. Ground was broken on a dedicated facility at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad in March 2012; its completion has been delayed reportedly due to protracted rulings from overseeing Indian government agencies.

Indian Rotorcraft
Industry Aviation
Founded 2010
Headquarters

,

Area served
Worldwide
Products helicopters, components
Owner Tata Sons, Leonardo S.p.A..

. . . Indian Rotorcraft . . .

Indian Rotorcraft was founded upon a partnership agreement signed between Tata Sons and AngloItalian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland (a company which has since been integrated into Leonardo S.p.A. in 2016) during January 2010.[1][2] At the time, India was viewed by helicopter manufacturers as one of the biggest potential growth markets. Speaking of the venture in 2012, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, stated: “The project is integral to our plans in the aerospace sector and we look forward to an enduring and successful partnership with AgustaWestland.”[3]

An AW119 helicopter

During March 2012, Indian Rotorcraft broke ground on a 40,000m2 new facility adjacent to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, India; once complete, this site, which includes a main assembly facility, flight hangar, offices and several helicopter landing pads, will accommodate the assembly, customisation and flight-testing of helicopters for the global market.[4] The first helicopters to be manufactured by the joint venture is slated to be the AgustaWestland AW119Ke; other types, such as the AgustaWestland AW101, are likely to follow in the future.[3] Tata have mooted plan to manufacture up to 80 per cent of the Sikorsky S-92 at the facility as well. In addition to whole rotorcraft, the joint venture shall also engage in the manufacture of components for various other military and commercial aircraft.[3]

Assembly activity, which is to reportedly have the initial capacity to complete a maximum of 30 helicopters per year, was at one point slated to commence during April 2014.[3][5] During summer 2015, it was reported that further delays to starting assembly were likely as the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), an Indian government agency, repeatedly deferred a pending decision on the proposal.[6] During September 2015, after two years of deferment, the proposal was at last cleared by the FIPB, allowing work to proceed; at the time, an Indian Rotorcraft spokesperson was unwilling to commit to a final timeframe for production rollout.[7] However, during May 2016, another pending ruling by the FIPB was deferred without any stated reason; allegedly, the FIPB is liaising with the Indian Ministry of Defence on the matter.[8][9] The Indian government’s apparent hesitancy on the issue has been alleged to be linked to the 2013 Indian helicopter bribery scandal.[10]

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