The FAL will take 24 months to set up and deliveries of the first ‘Made in India’ H125s are expected to commence in 2026. The location of the FAL will be jointly decided by Airbus and the Tata Group. This will be the first instance of the private sector setting up a helicopter manufacturing facility in India. It will be the second final assembly line Airbus is building in India after the ‘make in India’ C295 military aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara.
The announcement was made during the two-day visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India as chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations. The FAL in India will undertake the integration of the major component assemblies, avionics and mission systems, installation of electrical harnesses, hydraulic circuits, flight controls, dynamic components, fuel system and the engine. It will also do testing, qualification, and delivery of the H125 to customers in India and the region.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Helicopters are crucial for nation building. A ‘made-in-India’ civil helicopter will not only be a symbol of the confident New India but will also unlock the true potential of the helicopter market in the country. This helicopter FAL, which we will build together with our trusted partner Tata, is a reaffirmation of Airbus’ commitment to developing the full spectrum of the aerospace ecosystem in India.”
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said: “The Tata Group is delighted to set up India’s first helicopter assembly facility in the private sector. This facility will have the final assembly line in partnership with Airbus for the world’s bestselling Airbus H125 single engine helicopter for the Indian as well as export markets.”
The India-made H125 is expected to catalyse the use of helicopters in the country. This multi-mission workhorse will revolutionise passenger and goods transportation and will also be used for segments such as emergency medical services (HEMS), disaster management, law enforcement, tourism and aerial work missions. Providing last mile connectivity to remote areas, the H125 will significantly contribute to the Government of India’s regional connectivity scheme – Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) that will further promote the tourism sector in the country.
The H125 is the world’s best-selling single-engine helicopter. This high-performing versatile helicopter is a member of Airbus’ Ecureuil family, which has accumulated more than 38 million flight hours worldwide. It can operate in high-and-hot and extreme environments and can be easily reconfigured for various missions, including aerial work, firefighting, law enforcement, rescue, air ambulance, passenger transport, and many others. The H125 is the only helicopter to have landed on Mount Everest.
“The proposed helicopter manufacturing facility will be the second FAL to be established in India by Airbus, leveraging TASL’s capabilities in aerospace and defence. The two companies are building the C295 military transport aircraft FAL in Vadodara, Gujarat. The latest announcement is part of Airbus’ efforts to develop a holistic aerospace ecosystem in India, where the company is expanding its industrial footprint with aircraft assembly, component manufacturing, engineering and digital design and development, MRO support, pilot and maintenance training as well as academic collaboration to foster human capital,” Airbus said in a statement.