HYDERABAD: The first fully-built made-in-Hyderabad helicopter is likely to be rolled out four to five years from now if the expansion plans of Sikorsky Aircraft Manufacturing are anything to go by. The company, which produces helicopter cabins in Andhra Pradesh, said it would be manufacturing two to three fully-built S-92 helicopters every month after 2015-16.
“We are building the production process line. Besides cabins, we are also producing over 4,000 components in Andhra Pradesh. By 2013, we hope to achieve localisation of up to 80 percent. Once we reach that milestone, we will be just a step away from building an entire helicopter that’s fully made in Hyderabad. We have set ourselves to touch this target by 2015-16,” AJS Walia, managing director (India & South Asia), Sikorsky, told Express.
Besides Adibatla unit in Ranga Reddy district, Sikorsky has several manufacturing units across the world, including those in China, Holland, Turkey and Columbia and other South American countries. “Globally, we produce 2-3 helicopters every month at each plant. When the production line falls in place, the Hyderabad facility too will roll out 2-3 S-92s,” Walia explained.
The facility at Adibatla is the country’s first cabin manufacturing unit and the company is currently in the process of shifting the S-92 helicopter production line from Japan to Andhra Pradesh. Besides S-92, Sikorsky is also open to bring in other production lines to Hyderabad. “There’s an opportunity to add to the production line. But we don’t have concrete plans right now,” he added.
Sikorsky, the helicopter manufacturing division of Hanford-based United Technologies Corp, which partnered with Tata Advanced Systems, is now ramping up S-92 cabin production from the current two cabins a month to three cabins by 2013.
“From a single shift, we will now switch to two shifts and by December 2013, we will have produced 36 cabins,” he added.
Subsequently, the company will also recruit more employees depending on the requirement. Tatas invested over Rs 1,000 crore in the facility that manufactures S-92 helicopters--a 4-blade twin-engine medium lift helicopter for civil operations. The helicopters perform search, rescue missions, transport oil workers to offshore platforms.