Tata Lockheed JV to up indigenisation

Hyderabad facility playing a key role in manufacturing and supply of empennages for C130J family aircraft worldwide

By   |  Published: 4th Apr 2021  12:05 amUpdated: 3rd Apr 2021  10:55 pm
The C-130J aircraft, produced in 17 mission variants, is flown by 25 operators in 21 countries, including Indian Air Force.

Hyderabad: Every C-130J Super Hercules military aircraft that is delivered anywhere around the world, has a Hyderabad connection. The empennages (tail assembly) of the C130-Js are made at Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) facility in Hyderabad, making it the sole supplier globally.

Over 90 per cent of parts (more than 2,000 out of 2,300 parts) that go into the C130J aircraft empennage get manufactured at over 2.67 lakh sq ft TLMAL facility in the city.

The C-130J is a strategic aircraft and performs duties such as air drop, intelligence surveillance & reconnaissance, humanitarian, combat delivery, aero-medical, electronic surveillance communication, aerial refuelling, search & rescue, commercial freighter, aerial firefighting, personnel recovery, weather reconnaissance, gunship, maritime surveillance, special passenger accommodations, special ops, personnel transport and ground refuelling.

The empennages made in Hyderabad are installed on all new Super Hercules aircraft produced in Marietta, Georgia, United States. Empennage assemblies include various productions by TLMAL such as the aircraft’s horizontal and vertical stabilisers. These massive structures are shipped from India through reusable metal containers.

Largest programme

The C-130J is Lockheed Martin’s largest programme in India and TLMAL-manufactured empennages have been a part of the C130J global supply chain since 2013 with the first empennage delivered on January 9, 2014. By September 2016, TLMAL had delivered its 50th empennage and 100 by February 2019. And by the end of 2020, over 130 C-130Js have empennages built at TLMAL’s Hyderabad facility. About 24 empennages are made every year on an average.

The C-130J aircraft is flown by 25 operators in 21 countries, including India, US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Israel and South Korea. So far over 450 aircraft have been delivered globally. Produced in 17 mission variants, the aircraft has so far logged in over 2 million flight hours.

Kiran Dambala, chief operating officer, TLMAL, said, TLMAL team successfully delivered required shipsets of C-130J empennages by March 31st (2021) to Lockheed Martin towards FY2020-21 commitments, in spite of a complete lockdown for two months.

The company has plans to continue to deliver C130J empennages and focus on setting up the capability to indigenise the remaining components in the coming years, Dambala added.

TLMAL, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (Tata Group), is the single global source of various but distinct C130J parts, which were previously manufactured by suppliers located outside of India.

Wider contributions

In addition to empennages of C130J, the Hyderabad facility also makes empennages of FAA-certified LM-100J, the commercial freighter version of C130J. Previously, the facility has also manufactured parts for the C-130 Center Wing Box. TLMAL’s metal-to-metal bonding facility in Hyderabad also adds a cutting-edge capability to the Indian aerospace industry.

Lockheed Martin India’s JVs TLMAL and Tata Sikorsky Aerospace (makes 5,000 cabin aerostructures/components for the S-92 helicopter) have been instrumental in helping India achieve its goal of developing an aerospace and defence supplier ecosystem, promoting indigenous manufacturing and participating in the global supply chain.

TLMAL, which has completed 10 years of its operations, has recently received best joint venture of the year award at the 7th Aerospace & Defence Awards 2021. The joint venture entity has been growing over the past decade since its establishment in 2010, from having only 206 employees on the first day to about 700 by the end of 2020.

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