Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and MIDHANI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the ongoing Aero India 2021 for development and production of composite raw materials. This is the first time that such an MoU has been signed for composite raw materials.
The MoU was signed by R. Madhavan, CMD, HAL and Dr S. K. Jha, CMD, MIDHANI in the presence of other senior officials. Madhavan said composites are one area where HAL will collaborate. Jha said that this is the major step forward in the area of composite materials. Composite raw materials, mainly in the form of Prepregs and used in platforms like LCA, ALH, LCH and LUH, are currently imported.
HAL is not only taking care of frontline aircraft production but also raw materials.
There is no equivalent proven Indian approved/qualified supplier for various types of Prepregs (Carbon, Aramid, Glass types etc.) for the aircraft applications. This creates dependency on foreign OEMs, which is likely to continue in future indigenous programmes. Aligned with ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, efforts need to be made to develop and manufacture such Prepregs in India through collaboration.
The usage of composites in aerospace is going to exist and increase, particularly for fighter aircrafts/helicopter because of its inherent advantages over metallic raw materials. In addition, similar requirement exists for other aerospace and defence programmes including those of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).