HAL to deliver 350 combat jets, choppers by 2012

February 19th, 2009 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 19 (IANS) state-owned aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has sharply ramped up its manufacturing capacities and is set to deliver 350 combat jets, trainers and helicopters worth Rs.500 billion ($10 billion) to the Indian armed forces by 2012, its chairman Ashok Baweja said here Thursday.
“The orders pertain to the manufacture of 350 aircraft and helicopters to be delivered by 2012,” Baweja said at a press conference here.

“Even as we were in the process of executing these orders, another demand for almost the same number of aircraft and helicopters was likely to emerge for the 2012-2017 period,” he added.

HAL, from its plants at Bangalore, Nashik and Koraput, is currently engaged in manufacturing some 100 indigenous Dhruv advanced light helicopters, an almost equal number of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI combat jets under licence from Russia, some 60 Hawk advanced jet trainers under license from Britain and a little over 20 indigenous Tejas light combat jets.

This apart, it is also engaged in the upgrade of the Jaguar combat jet and will soon embark on a similar exercise for the MiG-29 fighter. Negotiations are also in an advanced stage for the upgrade of the Mirage-2000 fighter-bomber.

The HAL-developed light combat helicopter is also set to fly soon and the company is expecting a fair number of orders for the machine.

Speaking about the company’s growth, Baweja said: “We are poised to double our sales every three years now.” He added that HAL’s focus during the next decade “would be on indigenous development. The outlay for design and development projects is estimated at Rs.25,000 crore (Rs.250 billion), thereby generating additional employment opportunities for 12,000 people.”

Significantly, the company is all set also to diversify from its focus on military aviation to the civil aviation sector.

“We are working towards becoming the lead investor in a public-private initiative for the design, manufacture and marketing of civilian aircraft in the 70-110 seater segment within the next 5-7 seven years”, he said, while declining to disclose the potential partners in the proposed venture.

Baweja also hopes to take HAL’s exports to a five-fold high of $250 million by 2017.

“We have made a good beginning with an order for the Dhruv. The first batch of five helicopters was handed over last Thursday (during the Aero India-2009 international air show at Bangalore),” the HAL chairman said.

With a turnover of $2 billion in 2007-2008, HAL ranks 34th among global military equipment manufacturing companies.

“With the new vision to become a global player in aerospace industry, the company is targeting a turnover of $6 billion in the next 10 years and carving out a place for itself among the world’s top 20 defence companies,” Baweja pointed out.

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