Paramount to produce composite rotor blades in India with Bharat Forge

997

Paramount, already manufacturing armoured vehicles in India under a joint venture with Bharat Forge Limited, has now announced that it is partnering with the company to develop and manufacture composite helicopter rotor blades as well as mission systems and stores management systems for medium helicopters in India.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Paramount and Bharat Forge was announced during the Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru earlier this month. The MoU was signed by Guru Biswal, chief executive officer of the aerospace division of Bharat Forge in the presence of senior officials from both companies.

Biswal said, “this MoU with Paramount is a testimony of our commitment to work for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, to create technologies that is niche and shall support Indian and Global requirements. This collaboration will focus on creating the ‘Centre of Excellence’ for design, development and manufacture of composite rotor blades for rotary wing platforms, in India. This design and manufacturing hub shall support all future programmes for both India and across the globe.”

Steve Griessel, Global CEO of Paramount said: “Our global partnership with Bharat Forge Limited has grown from strength to strength over the last few years. We are excited to expand our collaboration into the aerospace sector. We have confidence that this initiative will leverage the unique synergies of our joint capabilities to meet the rotor blades requirement for medium lift helicopters in India and across the globe.

“Facilities will be established as centres of excellence for the development and industrialisation of rotor blades for all helicopter categories. Our collaboration would present a unique opportunity for all parties to speed up qualification processes and jointly support national and international customers.”

Paramount Aerospace Systems offers composite rotor blades for Mi-17/24 series helicopters. Although the production of the composite blades is more expensive than metal blades, the operational life (five to eight times that of metal) makes the overall cost of operation substantially cheaper, Paramount said. Individual blades can be replaced rather than the whole set.

Paramount acquired the composite rotor capability from Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE), which became Paramount Advanced Technologies, which opened its composite rotor blade facility in Midrand in October 2006.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago, India has been struggling to obtain spare parts from Russia – the Indian military operates a large amount of Russian equipment, including Mi-17 helicopters.

Also in February, Paramount Aerospace Systems inked a strategic partnership with AAL Group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the marketing of Mi-type helicopter solutions and the production of Mil main and tail rotor composite helicopter blades.

Paramount has a growing presence in India with the production of its Mbombe 4 armoured vehicle as the Kalyani M4 through a joint venture with the Kalyani Group, which owns Bharat Forge. The first Kalyani M4s were inducted into Indian Army service in April 2022. They have also been used for United Nations peacekeeping missions, with an initial 16 vehicles handed over last year for these missions.