Two General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SeaGuardians being operated in India under a lease agreement will be supported by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The turbo propeller engines that power MQ-9B high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) will be supported by the HAL Engine Division in Bangalore for the Indian market, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) said in the statement on 14 February. The statement was issued at the Aero India 2023 show being held in Bangalore from 13 to 17 February.
“GA-ASI is proud to collaborate with HAL on this prestigious project,” said Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation. “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.”
GA-ASI said in a statement that while the turboprop engine fitted onboard the MQ-9B 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.
“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 configurations to adapt to the RPAS technology. I am glad that HAL Engine Division, Bangalore, would be providing MRO support to the engine for MQ-9B RPAS, one of the most sophisticated equipment in the world,” said C B Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL.
The Expression of Interest was exchanged in the presence of C B Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL and Mihir Kanti Mishra, CEO (Bangalore Complex), between Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Executive General Atomics Global Corporation and B. Krishna Kumar, Executive Director (Engines & IMGT).
GA-ASI and HAL eagerly look forward to formulating a comprehensive engine MRO program for upcoming RPAS projects. This joint collaboration echoes India’s clarion call for ‘Atmanirbhar’ or ‘Self-Reliance’, while underscoring the deep industrial connection between U.S. and Indian Aerospace Companies.