JTull wrote:JayS, is there a public source of how many ALH engines are being overhauled at the OEM every year? I couldn't find the data point in HAL annual report.
tsarkar, you are probably right on Dhruv being past any threat of sanctions. But HAL should have planned engine MRO facilities at the same time as signing initial purchase agreement, or atleast when it got a good idea about future numbers of Dhruv being ordered. My fear is that it was looking at it purely commercially and not strategically. Probably the cost associated with engines sent to OEM for overhaul had crossed a certain threshold that it found it viable to setup a local MRO facility. Long lead times for agreeing to a JV, finding suitable location, construction, machinery imports, etc, meant this is about a decade later than it should have been.
Similar thing has happened with Su-30MKI where HAL is waking up 20 years after the first airframe came, to setup a local warehousing of spares. Till now they ordered piecemeal after a part failed (or went past its certified life).
Whether you call it a threat of sanctions or anything else, the delays have meant low serviceability rates for many aircraft types. This govt (starting with Manohar Parrikar) has spent a lot of time in optimising the use of airframes we have rather than just the need to have more airframes. (I believe Gagan Shakti 2018 was as much about validating this high availability than anything else).
1. I have not seen such data so far, but that doesn't meant it doesn't exist.
2. HAL-Safran JV for MRO of these engines has been started some time ago in Goa. MP inaugurated it during last Def Expo may be. There must have been some engines which went to France for overhaul, how many I don't know, but quite a bit of years have passed since Dhruv is inducted and definitely some engines must have needed overhaul. At the same time it looks like they planned MRO facility in India when its gonna need in good scale. From now on there will be steady stream of engines up for overhauling for decades to come. The number of engines need to be enough to make a good business case for such facility too. Looks like the turning point was at around 2015-16. The facility was opened duely. Sometimes its just matter of decision at MoD level. For example HAL has capability of overhaul of M53 engines even with such low number of engines. Perhaps due to the strategic importance of the jets, MoD decided to acquire it, while for Dhruv it was not envisaged in starting. Of coarse this is my reading between the line so take it FWIW.
3. You are unnecessarily bringing in the Su-30MKI spares matter here. It was IAF which rejected HAL's offer of PBL. HAL cannot be blamed alone. Its not HAL which orders piecemeal, but its IAF. IAF owns the aircrafts and give orders, not HAL. IAf's utilization has been lower than expected, so the need for overhaul was much less than expected. It has taken 3000+ Cr to set up spares' store in Nashik, thats quite a significant amount of money for HAL. HAL board cannot even take a decision to act on it even if they want to as this is beyond their autonomy. MoD has to pitch in. And when it did, things got sorted out. A lot has been discussed on this in Su30 thread.
4. As far as engine MRO is concerned, the ball in in Safran's court. HAL has limited authority over the engine. Safran dictates things, it seems.