Rolls-Royce shares a rich heritage of over eight decades with the Indian Armed forces. It powered the country’s first air force and navy carriers.
The British company Rolls-Royce has aligned its products and capabilities with India’s defence policy across the army, navy and the air force segments and thereby has been playing an integral role in securing the nation’s combat future. Through the years their presence in India has expanded beyond the portfolio of aero engines and has a well-developed naval and maritime presence in the country. The company’s MTU engines power many Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy ships. Kishore Jayaraman, President, Rolls-Royce India, talks about the company with Huma Siddiqui. Following are excerpts:
In the last decade what all has the company done in India?
Rolls-Royce shares a rich heritage of over eight decades with the Indian Armed forces. It powered the country’s first air force and navy carriers. Today, more than 750 Rolls-Royce engines of 10 engine types are powering aircraft of the Indian military. Our engines power a wide variety of aircraft in the inventory of the Indian Air Force – from combat and strike aircraft (the Jaguar, powered by the Adour Mk811) to trainers (Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, powered by Adour Mk871) to strategic airlift aircraft (C-130J Hercules, powered by AE2100) and even VVIP and Surveillance aircraft (ERJ145, powered by AE3007)
The company has expanded the supply chain in India through various partnerships, working to strengthen the sourcing ecosystem in India over several years. One of the biggest initiatives in this area is our joint venture with HAL called International Aerospace Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd. (IAMPL), to manufacture aero-engine components for the technologically advanced Trent family of civil aero engines. In addition to our JV with HAL, Rolls-Royce also sources components from local partners such as Bharat Forge, Godrej & Boyce and Tata.
In 2018, Rolls-Royce Power Systems started a joint venture with automaker Force Motors named Force MTU Power Systems. As part of the joint-venture, Power Systems has partnered with Force Motors to move the manufacturing of the entire line of 1,600 series MTU engines from Germany to the manufacturing facility at Chakan near Pune, by 2020.
On completion, the facility will produce MTU 10 and 12-cylinder Series 1600 units with power outputs ranging from 545 to 1050HP (400 to 800 KWm). Renowned for its common rail injection, turbocharging and electronic control, these engines are well-established in the market for power generation and rail underfloor applications.
Besides manufacturing Series 1600 units, the JV will also build Series 1600 generator sets for Indian and global markets. Rolls-Royce remains a strong partner to the ‘Make in India’ vision of the Indian government, and this initiative will further pave the way for significant job creation.
What are the plans for the Indian market?
Rolls-Royce continues to grow its presence across our key focus areas which include defence aerospace, defence marine sector and the power systems business across varied applications such as naval vessels, military vehicles, construction and industrial vehicles, mining, rail and as well as for the oil and gas industry.
In addition, we continue to expand our India footprint through services and support for our engines and systems. Our Defence Service Delivery Center (SDC) in Bengaluru, the only one in Asia specifically supports the Indian Armed Forces and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in continuously improving the availability of our engines.
We are continuously looking to develop local relationships and keenly seeking opportunities to participate in India’s co-development programmes and be fully prepared to embrace partnership model pivoted around co-creation and co-development programmes in India which we believe will serve as essential tools to meet India’s capability development goals. As India’s defence strategy undergoes a fundamental transformation triggered by new global and regional geopolitical and military developments with a greater role for indigenised military technology, co-creation and co-development would be fundamental to increase the participation of the private sector in the defence domain.
Rolls-Royce is also continuously leveraging India’s vast engineering talent for its global digital strategy. Key to this is our R2 Data Labs – the company’s in-house data innovation catalyst in Bengaluru. Pioneered as an acceleration hub for data innovation, the R2 Data Labs bring together expertise from across the business globally to tap and build on 30 years of data-led services and business model innovation.
Make in India and Skill India Programmes – what has been the role of Rolls-Royce?
Rolls-Royce has been a proponent of the ‘Make in India’ vision for over 60 years, having pioneered the manufacturing partnership model for our engines to be ‘Made in India’ under license by HAL in 1956. We expanded our partnership with HAL to set up International Aerospace Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd. (IAMPL) as a joint venture, to manufacture aero-engine components for the technologically advanced Trent family of civil aero engines.
Globally, we are adopting a “Digital First” strategy, discovering new efficiencies with IoT and accelerating data innovation with India as part of our global strategy. With a growing engineering footprint in India, we seek to establish a robust ecosystem to enable co-creation across the entire value-chain – from research, design and development to manufacturing, integration, maintenance and repair.
Going forward, we seek to embrace opportunities to co-develop and co-manufacture for the growing aerospace and defence sector with the right Indian strategic partners. This way we not only create value and contribute to local economies but also create an ecosystem that enables the sustainable growth of the sector.
What are you offering to India?
Collaboration has been at the heart of all our partnerships in India, demonstrated by successfully transferring whole-engine capability, knowledge and expertise in multi-national combat engine programmes. The vision for the future will be not just technology transfers and manufacturing but creating a broader ecosystem that includes co-design, co-development, co-manufacturing, supply chain and support. This entails capability creation and skilling, and at Rolls-Royce, we consider this one of our core strengths. In India, we are already nurturing skills, developing local supplier base and building capabilities to match global standards of quality and delivery.
Any new innovations?
Innovation is at the heart of Rolls-Royce. Throughout its history, Rolls-Royce pursued ever cleaner, safer and more competitive power – developing ground-breaking technologies and providing the world’s most powerful and efficient aero-engines.
Rising global population and prosperity are leading to increasing demand for travel, trade and energy. At the same time, there is growing demands for cleaner, safer and more competitive power, driven by a new era of more sustainable transportation and an increased understanding of the science of climate change.
Our commitment is to continuously improve the environmental performance of our products and services, by focusing on 3 main areas: Supporting our customers by further reducing the environmental impact of our products and services; Developing new intelligent technology for future low emissions products whilst enhancing mission capability; Maintaining our drive to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities.
Today, we are also using data to bring together our products, services and digital capability to realise the Intelligent Engine; our vision for the future of aircraft power. The Intelligent Engine of Rolls-Royce will pave the way for the new integrated engine controls, allowing faster and more effective ground support. Creating “digital twins” for physical engines will allow the company to move beyond engine health monitoring – which it has done for many years – and utilise additional aircraft data to provide value-added services to airlines.
In our marine business, we are also exploring new methods of ship intelligence and autonomous shipping. The results will help optimise ship and crew performance. Our defence business is also utilising digital innovation to ensure it can deploy the right assets to the right places required for military operations.
In India, our Engineering Centres and R2 Data Labs are examples of how we intend to accelerate data innovation. We expect to be able to realise both short-term and long-term benefits as we realise our ambition to become a business that is ‘digital first’. In today’s age of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Rolls-Royce is using advanced analytics, industrial Artificial Intelligence and machine-learning techniques to develop data applications that will unlock design, manufacturing and operational efficiencies within Rolls-Royce, and create new service propositions for customers.