After consolidating its presence in the automobile industry, MRF is now rolling out tyres for Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30 range of aircraft. MRF Chairman and Managing Director K M Mammen, Air Vice Marshal J K Singh and Aero Director General K Tamil Mani were present at the launch of the main wheel tyres – Aeromuscle – manufactured at the company’s facility in Medak, Hyderabad. “Though this tyre look black and round, there are several compounds in it and are not simple. These are made for handling extreme conditions as a Sukhoi 30 lands at a speed of 420 km per hour…,” Mammen told reporters here today. The Chennai-based company was the first to offer tyres for Chetak Helicopter in 2001 as part of foraying into aviation industry and before launching the tyres for Sukhoi-30 the trials were conducted last year.
MRF took up the project for the Sukhoi 30 MKI in 2008 and the project was anchored by CEMILAC – the certifying authority for Military aviation, RCMA (Nasik), DGAQA, Indian Air force and HAL. MRF has begun the supply of main wheel tyres to Sukhoi and was in the process of developing many more tyres for various aircraft of IAF, Navy and HAL, MRF Executive Vice President (Marketing) Koshy Varghese said. Declining to reveal the amount of investments made for manufacturing the specialised tyres to Sukhois, Varghese said, it was around “crores of rupees” invested at the plant for setting up the required machineries. “We were able to use some of the existing set up itself for producing these tyres…,” he said. “Currently we are using the back up facility. We are executing order which we got in 2013 for IAF. 50 per cent of the order which is substantial is being executed. The remaining 50 per cent are on their way,” he said. He said with the availability of India-made tyres, there would be about 35 per cent savings on cost compared to the current supplier.
The company was working to manufacture tyres for MIG aircraft, he said, adding “there are various projects we are looking at. But that (MIG) is the immediate thing…We are in the process”. Air Vice Marshal Singh said military aircraft tyres were considered extremely significant for many reasons and India was looking at a reliable domestic supplier as there were issues with multiple foreign vendors. He said the Rs 430 crore Sukhoi 30 MKI aircraft was main stay for the IAF for their performance and durability.