RInfra to Produce Composites for Aircraft Makers
France’s Daher roped in as tech partner; JV to serve local and int’l mkts
Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure is foraying into composites manufacturing for supply to aircraft makers with an initial investment of ₹ 85 crore and it is targeting exports of ₹ 315 crore over the next five years.
The Anil Ambani led-Reliance Infrastructure has roped in French aircraft maker Daher as a technology partner for manufacturing composite materials for aircraft.
“Daher is a guiding us on technical aspects. When we get certified, they will form a joint venture with us and will go for bigger expansion plans,” a senior Reliance Infrastructure executive told ET. The joint venture will serve local as well as international markets.
“Composites are the future of aerospace and defence industry. Our first unit at Dhirubhai Ambani Defence and Aerospace Park at MIHAN SEZ, Nagpur, will be operational by end of October this year. We will be focusing both on defence and non-defence segment,” a Reliance Infrastructure spokesperson told ET.
The firm acquired Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering in 2015 to enter the defence sector, which is now its strategic growth area. Reliance Group has formed separate joint ventures with French defence majors Dassault Aviation and Thales, and holds 51% each in both entities. The Dassault JV will be used by Dassault to manufacture its Rafale fighter jet for the Indian defence order worth .₹ 22,000 crore. This project has been marred in controversies as opposition parties have accused the government of favouring the Reliance Group company that has no prior experience in defence. As of now, the composite manufacturing business will not be supplying to the two JVs formed earlier.
“The Rafale controversy has not affected us. We are moving ahead with our plan and are on schedule,” a senior executive from Reliance Infrastructure said.
According to industry experts, India’s composites industry in 2018 was around 3 lakh metric tons and was projected to grow to 4.18 lakh metric tons by 2020 at compounded annual growth rate of 5.8 %. The aircraft industry is increasingly replacing traditionally used alloys and specialised metals with composites to reduce the weight of aircraft which influences performance. Initial investment by JV Targeted exports in 5 years
“The government is insisting on large indigenous content, almost 40%-60%, depending upon the project. The country is not at a stage where it can manufacture engines locally; it requires very heavy investments and will take time. Engines alone account for up to 20% of the cost of an aircraft, so if you leave it aside, manufacturing materials would be essential to meet the local manufacturing requirement,” the senior executive said, explaining the rationale behind the move.
The composite material manufacturing business is under the umbrella company Reliance Infrastructure so it can leverage on the company’s balance sheet.