AVIATION COM­PLEX

India Today - - STATES - —San­deep Un­nithan

A FLY­ING START

Abusi­ness­man with ex­cep­tional vi­sion set up In­dia’s first air­craft-pro­duc­ing fac­tory, Hin­dus­tan Air­craft, in 1940. Seth Walc­hand Hirac­hand, who had also set up In­dia’s first ship­yard, Scin­dia Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pany, and au­to­mo­bile plant, Premier Au­to­mo­biles, was ex­cep­tion­ally pre­scient when he ap­proached the kingdom of Mysore for seed cap­i­tal for his startup. Hirac­hand was lay­ing the build­ing blocks for the soon-to-be in­de­pen­dent coun­try’s in­dus­trial base. To­day, Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd is In­dia’s only hub for the design, de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of air­craft. Over the past 70 years, it has churned out 29 types of air­craft—from the MiG-21 to the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Te­jas Light Com­bat Air­craft; Chetak, Chee­tah and Dhruv he­li­copters; and trans­port air­craft for the se­cu­rity forces. An aero­space wing set up over two decades ago gave the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion a leg-up in its space race by sup­ply­ing

key com­po­nents for the Mars Or­biter mis­sion and GSLV Mark III launch in 2014. It has cre­ated an en­tire aviation and high-tech­nol­ogy in­dus­trial ecosys­tem by sourc­ing com­po­nents from nearly 2,400 part­ners. HAL sup­plies high pre­ci­sion struc­tural and com­pos­ite work pack­ages for Air­bus A-320 and Boe­ing-777 air­craft. It has man­u­fac­tured 4,060 air­craft and he­li­copters, 4,900 aero en­gines, and over­hauled/ up­graded over 11,000 air­craft and 32,000 en­gines. Of late, it’s trans­form­ing from a manufacturing to a tech­nol­ogy firm by plough­ing 10 per cent of prof­its into R&D and is set to pro­duce over 1,000 he­li­copters and over 100 com­bat jets over the next decade to re­main the main­stay of In­dia’s aero­space might.

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