Hyderabad. It’s celebration time again for Sikorsky in India. The Tata-Sikorsky joint venture in Hyderabad had done it—manufactured the 75th cabin which is the 25th to be a fully indigenous cabin for the global market. “It is a proud moment for us to achieve this landmark in the shortest possible time. From greenfield in June 2009 to a hundred percent indigenous aircraft in October 2013 was a short but swift leap. And we now have our 75th cabin which is also our 25th fully Made in India, an achievement par excellence,” happilly announced Air Vice Marshal AJS Walia AVSM, VSM (Retd), Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
Sikorsky is present as a major player in manufacturing through its partnership with Tata Group. Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) based in Hyderabad manufacture cabins for S-92 helicopter and Tara, a JV between Sikorsky and Tata group for manufacturing over 5,000 components which can be used for both fixed-winged & rotary-winged aircraft. Both these facilities are moving as per laid down road map and are an outstanding reflection of Sikorsky – Tata group relationship. In fact, I would say they highlight Indo – US partnership in aerospace engineering said Air Vice (Retd.) Marshal Walia.
S-92 cabins are being completely built in India, including their electrical wiring. The cabins are then shipped to the US for final assembly. TASL, is the sole source of S-92 cabins, with responsibility for future design modifications including military variants. The first fully 100% indigenous cabin is the 50th S-92 cabin manufactured. Production at TASL has been increased from two in a month in 2012 to four in a month now. Sikorsky had laid out a roadmap in 2009 to extend collaboration in India to produce a complete helicopter here, subject to meeting stipulated objectives and goals, and indigenisation of the S-92 helicopter cabins is a milestone in reaching that target. He added that continuing at three cabins a month, Sikorsky hoped to address the backlog of twenty four to twenty seven months for the global demand of the S-92 cabins.
AVM Walia addded optimistically, “We are looking forward to now introducing S76 D in India. We are in dialogue with some potential customers and hope to conclude this into a firm order. Last two years there was a slump in the intermediate category but 2014 will see a revival in the demand. We hope to surely get our share of the business.”
Another good news at the American helicopter major’s front is that it has been informed by Indian Coast Guard that it is technically qualified for the fourteen shore based helicopters and is looking forward to participating in the flight evaluation trials. ”We understand that elections have been announced and the code of conduct by the Election Commission is operative but we hope that the process will not be put on hold for defence requirements.”
Sikorsky entered India in 1954. India’s first helicopter was a Sikorsky S-55, which was also used by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Over the years, Sikorsky has built its legacy and trust in India. India continues to be an important market for Sikorsky.
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