GE, Tata Sons in major tie-up

Tata Sons
Minister KT Rama Rao at the ground-breaking ceremony of the COE facility. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: Telangana has identified aerospace as one of the key industrial sectors in its industrial policy. The State is seeing the results of its efforts of ‘ease of doing business’ for industries in the form of surge in investments, both individually and through joint ventures.

GE and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), which have announced their plans last December to jointly set up a manufacturing facility in Adibatla to make aero-engine components, on Monday took a leap by ground-breaking the unit with an aim to roll out the first engine by end of the year.

The Centre of Excellence (COE) that will focus on manufacturing aero-engine components will incorporate latest technologies from GE and best manufacturing practices to deliver complex high precision components to the world’s fastest-selling jet engine, the CFM LEAP engine. The joint venture will carry out manufacturing, assembling, integration and testing of aircraft components meeting the needs of GE’s global supply chain.

It will also set up an aero-engine precision machining training facility in Telangana, to train the workforce in high-end manufacturing. For the skilling purpose, the course content has already been prepared and the exercise will be implemented soon.
TS’ edge

KT Rama Rao, Minister for Industries, Telangana, who took part in the ground-breaking ceremony of the facility, said, “TASL had been an anchor manufacturer at the Adibatla Aerospace Park. GE has joined a list of marquee companies that have chosen Hyderabad for their operations through this joint venture. GE and Tata Group are keen to tap India’s potential in the aerospace manufacturing segment. Telangana has created a strong ecosystem for aerospace manufacturing and has already created two aerospace parks to enable its growth further. The State also has five airstrips and is focusing on strengthening its infrastructure supported by its efforts for skilling so that there is adequate manpower available for the industry.”

“Telangana government has tied up with Aerocampus Aquitaine and Cranfield University for skilling for this sector. This will ensure both skilling and upskilling,” he informed.

Tata group’s partnership with GE will boost the domestic manufacturing expertise, and enhance the capabilities of the group in the global aerospace industry. This investment will create highly skilled jobs and develop a high-end supply chain that will offer a globally competitive manufacturing ecosystem in India,” said Banmali Agrawala, president, Infrastructure and Defence & Aerospace, Tata Sons.

Agrawala said, “Working and living environment is key for people. And a suitable environment is available in Hyderabad and Telangana. The aero-engine component making is just a beginning of wide offerings the new facility can make in future. GE could have chosen any other location for this facility globally, but choosing Hyderabad and India prove what potential they have to host such a unit.”

Path-breaking collaboration
“The collaboration between the two companies will deliver results for India’s aerospace and defence industry. Combining GE’s R&D capability with manufacturing within Tata’s new facility in Hyderabad is a significant step forward in building indigenous capability for the Indian aerospace industry,” said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO for GE South Asia.

He added, “Telangana is making significant progress by enabling ease of doing business. The State has not only strengthened its presence in technology but also in specialised sectors such as aerospace and defence. India as a nation will become the largest aviation market by 2025 and is estimated to deploy 1,500 aircraft by 2030, making it one of the largest markets in the world. So, the Hyderabad facility can in future take up manufacturing of jet engines, not just components.”

GE has been meeting the aerospace and defence needs of several nations and has established collaborations with Japan, Turkey and others. The company is looking to leverage its volumes in the commercial space. As the Indian military needs new aircraft, the components that will be made in the Hyderabad facility can meet the nation’s needs. GE currently employs 700 engineers in its Hyderabad engineering centre.

Sukaran Singh, chief executive officer and managing director of TASL told Telangana Today, “This will be the first such facility in India to make aero-engine components for LEAP engine.”

Military applications
The agreement for manufacturing of LEAP components and establishment of TASL as a COE will allow TASL to expand into other GE product lines in both commercial and military engines. TASL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, focused on providing integrated solutions for Aerospace, Defence and Homeland Security.

GE currently provides the jet engines and marine gas turbines for Indian military applications, including the Air Force Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas Mk 1, Indian Navy P-8I aircraft, and P-17 Shivalik class frigates. Several military programmes under development that include the Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas Mk 2, P-17A & P-71 ships, and the AH-64 attack helicopters will be powered by GE engines.

The new LEAP engine family is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. In less than 18 months, over 200 LEAP-powered aircraft have entered service with 35 airlines in five continents. The LEAP engines power new narrow-body aircraft from manufacturers Airbus, Boeing and COMAC, and are the fastest-selling engines in commercial aviation history with some 14,270 engine orders and commitments at a value of more than $206 billion.

In 2018, the engine production will double to over 1,000 engines, and it will touch 2,000 engines annually by 2020. A total of 2,870 LEAP engines (including commitments and spares) had been ordered in 2017.