Airbus Helicopters has awarded a contract to Mahindra Aerostructures — part of the Mahindra Group’s Aerospace subisidiary — to make airframe parts for the AS565 MBe Panther. These parts will be produced at the Mahindra facility in Bengaluru. They will be shipped directly to the Airbus Helicopters production line in Marignane, France where they will be integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly.
The contract positions Mahindra Aerostructures as the first Indian company to receive a direct manufacturing contract from Airbus Helicopters as a Tier 1 supplier. Mahindra Aerostructures will gradually emerge as the global single source supplier to Airbus Helicopters for these parts. This 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.
It is the second such partnership between the Indian firm and an Airbus Group company, following the aero-components production contract awarded by Premium Aerotec in June 2015.
According to Fabrice Cagnat, Director - Make in India, Airbus Helicopters: “The contract will allow us 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 industrializing production in India, in case we are selected for the Naval Utility Helicopter programme,” he added.
Airbus Helicopters and Mahindra Defence are in the process of forming a joint venture to target Indian 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.
The French firm says it will establish India as a global hub for Panther production in partnership with Mahindra Defence if the Indian Government selects the Panther.