Second line of production for LCA in the pipeline: Parrikar

Second line of production for LCA in the pipeline: Parrikar

Govt has approved Rs 359 crore for a second line of production of LCA Tejas.

The Dollar Business Bureau

At the inaugural of Aero India 2017, an International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced the government's plans to providing impetus to an indigenous production of defence aircraft.

In particular, the government has sanctioned expenditure of Rs 359 crore to set up a second line of production for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. While this project is likely to commence in three months, the production process shall take a year and a half to get rolling.

The Defence Minister also said that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been asked to augment production in various sectors by outsourcing in 'large quantities'.

The government has also discussed the export potential of LCA Tejas with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Indian Air Force, in its bid to touch the targeted $2 billion export mark for the defence sector.

Parrikar, in order to align the efforts of the Defence Ministry with the broad 'Make in India' agenda of the NDA, has time and again, spoke of indigenisation of the defence manufacturing industry. In June 2016, Parrikar had stated that the year would see a few major 'Make-in-India' initiatives for the production of fighter jets. For the same, the government has also collaborated with Boeing for the skilling of manpower.

The Centre's efforts to modernise India's Air Force capabilities had also led to the much-hyped procurement of 36 Rafael Jets from France.

Parrikar had mentioned on other occasions that the government was working on cutting out bureaucratic red tape in FDI for the defence sector. Allaying concerns regarding an adverse impact of loosening FDI norms on the Indian manufacturers, he said that 100% FDI is not permitted in areas where there could be a direct competition to the Indian industry.

"But the route is open. If someone comes to manufacture an engine, whose technology is not with us, I will definitely consider it. I will welcome FDI in (such) areas," he said.

"But by letting it (technology) hang in the balance, and importing (equipment) does not make sense," he added.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 15, 2017 12:00 IST