General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have jointly announced that the HAL Engine Division in Bengaluru will provide support for the Indian market for the turbo-propeller engines that power GA-cutting-edge ASI’s MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
According to Dr. Vivek Lall, CEO of General Atomics Global Corporation, “GA-ASI is honoured to partner with HAL on this significant project.” “HAL is our natural partner in India since it is the leading public sector aerospace and defence organisation in India and because of its extensive experience in the field of aero-engine technology.”
Despite having a similar appearance to other commercial engines in its class, the turboprop engine installed on the MQ-9B RPAS is unique in its configuration and function, necessitating specialised knowledge and tools for maintenance, repair, and overhaul.
The Expression of Interest was exchanged between Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global Corporation, and Mr. B. Krishna Kumar, Executive Director, in the presence of Mr. C B Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL, and Mr. Mihir Kanti Mishra, CEO (Bangalore Complex) (Engines & IMGT).
For the past 40 years, HAL has produced TPE 331-5 engines and offered MRO support. Additionally, we are setting up factories to produce TPE 331-12B engines for the HTT-40 project. The engine used on the MQ-9B RPAS is from the same family as other engines, although it has been updated to work with RPAS technology. According to Mr. C B Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, “I am pleased that HAL Engine Division, Bangalore would be providing MRO support to the engine for MQ-9B RPAS, one of the most complex equipment in the world.”
For prospective RPAS projects, GA-ASI and HAL are eager to develop a complete engine MRO programme. This collaborative effort highlights the close industrial ties between American and Indian aerospace companies while echoing India’s appeal for “Atmanirbhar,” or “Self-Reliance.”
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