Airbus partners with Tata Group to build India's first private sector helicopter final assembly line

(To Airbus)

In a major boost to its 'Make in India' programme, Airbus Helicopters has announced collaboration with Tata Group to set up a final assembly line (FAL) for helicopters in the country. FAL will produce the H125 helicopter, the best-selling helicopter in Airbus' civilian range, for India and for export to some neighboring countries.

The FAL will be India's first private sector helicopter manufacturing facility, providing a major boost to the Indian government's AatmaNirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) programme. Under this partnership, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a subsidiary of Tata Group, will set up the facility along with Airbus Helicopters.

The announcement was made during French President Emmanuel Macron's two-day visit to India as the guest of honor at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.

FAL in India will be responsible for the integration of major component assemblies, avionics and mission systems, installation of electrical harnesses, hydraulic circuits, flight controls, dynamic components, fuel system and motor. It will also carry out testing, qualification and delivery of the H125 to customers in India and the region. The preparation of the FAL will take 24 months and deliveries of the first "Made in India" H125s are scheduled for 2026. The location of the FAL will be decided jointly by Airbus and the Tata Group.

"Helicopters are critical to nation building. A 'Made-in-India' civil helicopter will not only be a symbol of a confident New India but will also unlock the true potential of the helicopter market in the country," Guillaume said Faury, CEO of Airbus. “This helicopter final assembly line, which we will build together with our trusted partner Tata, reiterates Airbus' commitment to develop the full spectrum of the aerospace ecosystem in India. This will be the second final assembly line that Airbus will build in India after the 'Make in India' C295 military aircraft manufacturing plant in Vadodara, Gujarat”. 

N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “Tata Group is delighted to set up India's first private sector helicopter assembly plant. This plant will have the final assembly line, in collaboration with Airbus, for the Airbus H125 single-engine helicopter, the world's best-selling helicopter, intended for both the Indian and export markets."

Undisputed in its category, the Indian-made H125 will catalyze the use of helicopters in the country. This multi-mission workhorse will revolutionize passenger and cargo transportation and will also be used for segments such as emergency medical services (HEMS), disaster management, law enforcement, tourism and aerial work missions. By providing last mile connectivity to remote areas, the H125 will significantly contribute to the Government of India's regional connectivity program - Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) - which will further boost the country's tourism sector.

The H125 is the world's best-selling single-engine helicopter that outperforms other helicopters in its class. This versatile high-performance helicopter is part of Airbus' Ecureuil family, which has accumulated more than 38 million flight hours worldwide. It is capable of operating in 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, demonstrating its agility in operating in extreme environments and at high altitude.

The proposed helicopter manufacturing facility will be the second FAL built in India by Airbus, leveraging TASL's capabilities in the aerospace and defense sector. The two companies are building the FAL for the C295 military transport aircraft in Vadodara, Gujarat.

The latest announcement comes as part of Airbus' commitment to develop a holistic aerospace ecosystem in India, where the company is expanding its industrial footprint with aircraft assembly, component manufacturing, engineering and design and digital development, MRO support, pilot and maintainer training, and academic collaboration to advance human capital.