European aviation major Airbus Helicopters has awarded a contract to Mahindra Aerostructures to supply airframe parts for its AS565 MBe Panther copter. The contract positions Mahindra Aerostructures as the first Indian company to receive a direct manufacturing contract from Airbus Helicopters as a Tier 1 supplier, Airbus said.
Mahindra Aerostructures will gradually emerge as the global single source supplier to Airbus Helicopters for these parts, the statement said. The parts will be produced at Mahindra’s facility in Bengaluru. They will be shipped directly to the Airbus Helicopter production line in Marignane, France, where they will be integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly and will form a critical part of the Panthers sold worldwide.
Airbus Helicopters and Mahindra Defence are in the process of forming a joint venture to target India’s military helicopter programmes such as the Naval Utility Helicopter, the Naval Multi-Role Helicopter and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter.
The AS565 MBe Panther is competing for the Naval Utility Helicopter programme. In case the Indian Government selects the Panther, Airbus Helicopters will establish India as a global hub for Panther production in partnership with Mahindra Defence. Airbus said that the work package is the first amongst a series of work packages which would embed Mahindra Group firmly in the Airbus Helicopters’ global supply chain and bind the two companies in a long-term ‘Make in India’ partnership.
“We are playing an active role in the development of a helicopter-focused Indian industrial eco-system, and are embedding Indian suppliers into our global supply chain, “said Fabrice Cagnat, Director - Make in India, Airbus Helicopters. He said the contract will allow Airbus to qualify Mahindra Aerostructures as a Tier 1 supplier, establish a manufacturing relationship with them on the Panther, and also lay the ground work for a rapid acceleration in terms of industrialising production in India