Airbus, a leading European aerospace company, and the Tata Group have collaborated to set up a final assembly line (FAL) in India to produce the popular H125 civil helicopters. This venture marks a significant milestone as it will be India’s first private sector-initiated helicopter final assembly line. The facility’s construction is expected to take approximately two years, and the helicopters manufactured there will cater to the domestic Indian market and export to some of the neighbouring countries.
Under this partnership, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a subsidiary of Tata Group, will set up the facility along with Airbus Helicopters,” stated Airbus on Friday when announcing the deal. This announcement coincided with French President Emmanuel Macron’s two-day state visit to India as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations on 26 January.
Airbus and the Tata Group have indicated that selecting the facility’s location will be a collaborative decision between the two partners without disclosing specific details about the potential sites under consideration. Additionally, both parties have refrained from disclosing financial information related to the project.
“The FAL in India will undertake the integration of the major component assemblies, avionics and mission systems, installation of electrical harnesses, hydraulic circuits, flight controls, dynamic components, fuel system and the engine. It will also do testing, qualification, and delivery of the H125 to customers in India and the region. The FAL will take 24 months to set up, and deliveries of the first ‘Made in India’ H125s are expected to commence in 2026,” Airbus said.
The upcoming helicopter manufacturing facility is set to become Airbus and TASL’s second aircraft Final Assembly Line (FAL) in India. Currently, the two entities are in the process of constructing a FAL in Vadodara, Gujarat, dedicated to the production of the C-295 military transport aircraft.
“This helicopter final assembly line, which we will build together with our trusted partner Tata, is a reaffirmation of Airbus commitment to developing the full spectrum of the aerospace ecosystem in India. This will be the second final assembly line Airbus is building in India after the ‘Make in India’ C-295 military aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat,” said Guillaume Fury, Airbus CEO.
Airbus expects that the production of the H125 in India will act as a catalyst for the increased utilisation of helicopters in the country. The company envisions the helicopter playing a transformative role in passenger and goods transportation in India while also enhancing various sectors such as emergency medical services, disaster management, law enforcement, tourism, aerial work missions, and regional air connectivity.
“Tata Group is delighted to set up India’s first helicopter assembly facility in the private sector. This facility will have the final assembly line in partnership with Airbus for the world’s bestselling Airbus H 125 single-engine helicopter for the Indian as well as export markets,” said N Chandrashekhar, Chairman of Tata Sons.
“By providing last-mile connectivity to remote areas, the H125 will significantly contribute to the Government of India’s regional connectivity scheme, Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), which will further promote the country’s tourism sector,” Airbus said.
Helicopter use in India lags many other countries where choppers are routinely used for a number of purposes. India’s massive population and notable economic growth make it an attractive potential market for increased civil helicopter use.
— Airbus Newsroom (@AirbusPRESS) January 26, 2024
“The H125 is the world’s best-selling single-engine helicopter that outclasses other helicopters in its category. This high-performing, versatile helicopter is a member of Airbus’ Ecureuil family, which has accumulated more than 38 million flight hours worldwide. It can operate in high-and-hot and extreme environments and can be easily reconfigured for various missions, including aerial work, firefighting, law enforcement, rescue, air ambulance, passenger transport, and many others,” Airbus said.