Rolls Royce is attending the 2013 Aero India show with a renewed sense of optimism for its prospects in this key Asian market. At the last show back in 2011, there was some gloom when the UK-based aero engines maker decided to withdraw from the competition for re-engining the Indian Air Force’s Jaguars. Now Rolls-Royce’s main focus in India is the CTS800 turboshaft engine offered in partnership with Honeywell for the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). The CTS800 is competing with Turbomeca’s Ardiden 1H1/Shakti engine, which already powers the Advanced Light Helicopter and Light Combat Helicopter prototypes. Commercial bids for the LUH program were opened last year.
“India is an important market for Rolls-Royce with a number of local partners,” said Kishore Jayaraman, President, Rolls-Royce India. “We look forward to accelerating our business development and partnership initiatives.” HAL and Rolls-Royce have a new joint manufacturing facility in Bangalore, where components of Trent family of airliner engines, as well as marine and energy gas turbines will be produced. This will become part of Rolls Royce global supply chain, according to John Gay, Rolls-Royce’s senior vice-president for defense aerospace in South Asia.
India has indicated a requirement for more Lockheed Martin C130J transports powered by four Fadec-equipped Rolls Royce AE2100D3 turboprops. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has extended a power-by-the-hour contract with Rolls-Royce’s U.S. division, based in Indianapolis, to support the powerplant of its existing C130Js. The additional work, valued at $6.7 million, will be done at Hindon Air Station.
The AE 2100D2 also powers the Alenia C-27J Spartan medium airlifter. This is in line to compete for an anticipated request for proposal from the Indian military to replace its aging fleet of Avros. Meanwhile, asked about prospects for powering the new Multirole Transport Aircraft being jointly developed by HAL and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp., Gay said that Rolls-Royce is waiting to learn more about the design of the twin turboprop and its anticipated engine needs.