MRF is set to emerge as a major supplier of tyres for the Indian Air Force (IAF) as the country’s leading tyre maker has now created yet another record of supplying aircraft tyres for the defence.
After successfully producing and supplying tyres for Indian defence helicopters, the company has now started supplying indigenously developed tyres for Sukhoi 30 MKI, the most advanced fighter aircraft group in the IAF fleet. The main wheel tyre for the Sukhoi was unveiled on Saturday.
The development marks one of the significant steps in defence’s indigenisation programme. MRF’s supply is to result in significant savings as its tyres will be priced 30-40 per cent lower than the tyres the IAF used to procure from outside the country.
“We are the only Indian company to make tyres for Indian defence helicopters and aircraft, and with this, we will be among the very few global tyre OEMs that supply aviation tyres,” said Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Ltd.
Though MRF has been supplying tyres to various vehicles of Defence Forces, its journey to supply aviation tyres began in 2001. After meeting all requirements and securing approvals from various authorities, it started supplying helicopter tyres for Chetak fleet in 2008. In the same year, it took up the project of developing main wheel tyres for Sukhoi 30 MKI. By working with various entities of Defence Department, the company came up with indigenously developed fighter tyres, which have been tested for ground speeds of up to 420 kmph with loads in excess of 18 tons per tyre.
After completion of the tests, the product has been cleared by CEMILAC (The certifying authority for Military aviation) for commercial production in 2012. These tyres are being produced at its facility at Medak (Andhra Pradesh).