Supporters of private industry in aerospace in India will be happy to see this news itemlink to article
New Delhi, July 22
Indian business magnate Mukesh Ambani’s dream to manufacture aircraft has started taking shape.
Ambani’s new aerospace company, a complete diversification from current business of energy and materials, has finally taken off. His vision is to make India a global hub of aerospace manufacturing.
Ambani’s Rs76-billion Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has formally incorporated a new firm to enter
aerospace and defence ventures. The new company, Reliance Aerospace Technologies (P) Limited, has been registered with appropriate authorities, including the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
As per the memorandum of articles, the objective is “to design, develop, manufacture, equipment and components, including airframe, engines, radars, avionics and accessories for military and civilian aircraft, helicopters, unmanned airborne vehicles and aerostats.”
The company will also undertake research and produce new aerospace technologies, materials, components and equipment and test and carry out their certification.” The company will also partner with global majors to bring in sophisticated civil and military aerospace technologies into the country. Research and development is part of its charter. Sources said huge funds were being earmarked for R&D purposes. Dr Vivek Lall (43), possibly the country’s most respected aerospace expert today, is heading Mukesh Ambani’s new ventures. Lall was honoured by Cambridge as one of the 2,000 outstanding scientists. Lall earlier worked with the NASA and defence majors Raytheon and Boeing.
Although the newly created company has not identified the hub for its activities, it already has a major job in hand — waiting for a final go-ahead. It relates to manufacturing specific parts of the French Rafale fighter jet that was selected by the Defence Ministry six months ago.
On January 31, 2012, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale emerged winner in the “dogfight”, beating the European consortium’s Eurofighter Typhoon in over $11-billion Indian Air Force deal for the 4.5 generation 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). The Tribune in an exclusive report on January 11, 2011, had reported that Eurofighter and Rafale had been shortlisted for the final decision “but a political decision was awaited”.
As per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dassault Aviation, the RIL’s new aerospace company will assist in manufacturing major parts of Rafale in India. The MoU was signed a week after the government announced Rafale as the winner in the MMRCA fray.
According to Dassault Aviation, the firm has entered into an MoU with the RIL “for pursuing strategic opportunities of collaboration in the area of complex manufacturing and support in India”. Dassault manufactures Rafale combat jets and Falcon business jets, and the proposed venture may be making a foray into both sectors.
Sources said the two partners had informed the Defence Ministry. Any such venture has to be cleared by the government and several procedural and security clearances would be required in due course.
As the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is the lead integrator for the MMRCA project, the two companies will have to involve it also.
Industry experts feel the RIL may emerge as the biggest Indian player in various defence projects like combat aircraft, military systems and homeland security in near future. Mukesh Ambani’s new ventures of defence, aerospace solutions and homeland security may overtake his existing businesses in years to come.