Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated (GA-ASI) have jointly announced that turbo-propeller engines which power the state-of-art MQ-9B Guardian High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) will be supported by the HAL Engine Division at Bengaluru for the Indian market.
"HAL has been manufacturing and providing MRO support for TPE 331-5 engines for the last 40 years. We are also establishing facilities for manufacturing TPE 331-12B engines for the HTT-40 project.
"The engine used on the MQ-9B RPAS belongs to the same family of engines with upgraded configuration to adapt to the RPAS technology.
"I am glad that HAL Engine Division, Bengaluru would be providing MRO support to the engine for MQ-9B RPAS, one of the most sophisticated equipment in the world," HAL Chairman and Managing Director, C.B. Ananthakrishnan said.
"GA-ASI is proud to collaborate with HAL on this prestigious project," General Atomics Global Corporation's Chief Executive Dr. Vivek Lall said. "HAL is the foremost Indian public sector aerospace and defence agency, and its vast experience in the domain of aero-engine technology makes it our natural partner in India."
Though the turboprop engine fitted onboard the MQ-9B HALE RPAS looks similar to other commercial engines in its category, it is unique in its configuration and operation, requiring special training and equipment to maintain, repair and overhaul.
The Expression of Interest was exchanged between Lall, and HAL's Executive Director, Engines and IMGT, B.Krishna Kumar in the presence of Bengaluru Complex CEO Mihir Kanti Mishra.
GA-ASI and HAL eagerly look forward to formulating a comprehensive engine MRO program for upcoming HALE RPAS projects. This joint collaboration echoes India's clarion call for 'Atmanirbharta' (self-reliance), while underscoring the deep industrial connection between US and Indian aerospace companies.