Aerospace production plans take wings
The doors of the public sector-dominated defence and aerospace industry in India is shifting gears for a major take-off with the support of the private sector and foreign direct investment. The Defence Production Policy 2018 (DProP 2018) and its Vision 2025 call for investment in aerospace industry with the ambitious plan to build an 80-100-seater civilian aircraft in 7 years. DProP 2018 has identified 13 areas where India must achieve self-reliance by 2025. Most of them are directly related to aerospace industry. They include: Manufacturing fighter aircraft, medium lift and utility helicopters, warships, land combat vehicles, autonomous weapon systems, missile systems, gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, surveillance systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems, communication systems, and night fighting enablers.
The private sector had been demanding a flexible investment policy for unleashing India’s potential to manufacture defence and aerospace components and whole equipment. Recommending defence and aerospace industry investment reforms, the Confederation of Indian Industry had said, India has always had the potential to become an aerospace hub. It is the inward-looking policies and lack of trust towards the private sector that has held India back. Now the floodgates are open for the private sector. The Union Defence Ministry aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,700 billion in defence goods and services by 2025, involving additional investment of nearly Rs 700 billion and creating employment for nearly 2-3 million people. This is to be achieved through large-scale investments from the private sector.
The DProP 2018 wants the automotive component manufacturers to upgrade skills to transition to aerospace design and manufacture and conducting “hackathons” to resolve specific problem areas. The government is earmarking Rs 1000 crore during 2018-2022 for the setting up of Defence Innovation Hubs to encourage start-ups; and to bring micro, small and medium enterprises into defence and aerospace manufacture.
As the aerospace industry is taking wings in India to a wide horizon, AutocomponentsIndia is bringing out this special edition highlighting the ground realities and the industry preparedness for a real take-off. The multinational aerospace manufacturing companies also are taking keen interest in India. In order to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) into defence production, DProP 2018 has allowed 74% FDI under the automatic route for “niche technology areas.”