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Flying Into The Future

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for India’s locally built combat aircraft the Tejas the government kicked off the process to build the light combat aircraft way back in 1984 but it took more than three decades of technical challenges US sanctions following India’s and nuclear tests and domestic politics before the fighter jet was finally ready for takeoff after all the ups and downs the Jets manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited hjl handed over the Tejas to the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar and then Air Chief Marshal Arup raha in January 2015 it was showcased at last year’s Republic Day Parade given the fight to Jet’s long and difficult journey it’s handed over to the Indian Air Force IAF was certainly a champagne popping moment for the Indian aerospace industry in general and state-owned hal in particular the supersonic fighter jet is likely to replace the ageing Soviet era mig-21 Jets which the Air Force plans to phase out eventually because of their spotty safety record it has been a great journey the long years that it took to build a four-and-a-half generation fighter jet that can fly and which is comparable to the f-16 and better than the mig-21 the Chairman and Managing Director of Hal tshuva new raju tells fortune India in aviation failure is not tolerated because you cannot take a risk with the life of a test pilot this is primarily the reason why development of an aircraft is such a rigorous process but how might want to hold off on popping the bubbly just yet the Air Force might have ordered 123 Tejas jets from the Bengaluru based company but defense experts say the aircraft manufacturer doesn’t have the production capacity to meet the order for air vice-marshal Kapil kak who retired in 1996 says how his only delivered five aircraft so far and they do not meet Air Force quality standards although the EF has put in a request for one and 23 hedges and provided funding for 40 aircraft in 2009 10 how has only delivered 5 aircraft till date and that too is awaiting final clearance he says the initial batch had as many as 57 deficiencies as pointed out by the EFM need to be rectified before they can be made fully operational heat edgers a locally built light combat aircraft was finally handed over to the Air Force in January 2015 despite the skepticism the Tejas could be a take-off point for house flight into the future the Air Force order could translate into revenues of more than ours 50,000 crore over the next 10 years a shot in the arm for the largest public sector defence enterprise which is already one of the top profit-making state firms in India going by disclosures in its draft red herring prospectus filed ahead of a proposed public offer its net profit grew 31% two hours two thousand six hundred and twenty-four crore in 2016 17 and it had an order book of ours sixty three thousand three hundred and thirty three crore during this period including fighter trainer and transport aircraft as well as civil and military helicopters now the country’s only maker of fighter aircraft is hoping to use lessons learnt from projects like the Tejas to future-proof itself its strategy is multi-pronged one it wants to be a one-stop shop for all defence requirements in the aviation sector two it wants a greater share of the export pie and wants to work alongside the private sector to achieve this goal it wants to monetize its position as the knowledge hub of aircraft manufacturing in India by signing transfer of Technology deals with the private sector 3 it wants to capture a chunk of the small sized civil aircraft market which is just starting to grow through the government’s regional air connectivity scheme and finally it wants to introduce modern manufacturing techniques like robotics to improve efficient see levels to be sure for decades there was nothing indigenous about house manufacturing most of its initial years were spent assembling or manufacturing under licensed foreign origin aircraft such as Russian MIG 21s mig-27 s British Jaguar and French Alette helicopters the cheetah helicopter is also built under license even non-combat military aircraft such as the Avro are made under licence in India in many ways the Tejas is a first for hal as it is both indigenously designed and manufactured without any outside help propelling india into an elite club of five countries that can build fighter aircraft including the US Britain and France the Tejas can also be a big boost for the government’s make in India program if Hal succeeds in meeting the Air Force is ordered by 2020 425 until then Hal is looking to spread its wings overseas reduce says the company will target the export market in partnership with the private sector which is entering the defence manufacturing space for us the private sector is not competition as India becomes a global power countries around the region will look to our country for defence equipment supplies he says when that happens how alone would not be able to meet the demand we would need the private sector to supplement our production the thought process is not just to cater to Indian demand but also the export demand how could be well placed for an early mover advantage as India ramps up its defence exports in 2015 16 defence exports grew 22% two hours 2059 crore according to the government’s defence manufacturing sector achievements report the exports to over 28 countries included patrol vessels helicopters radars and small arms hal is confident about competing in the global market we always have a cost advantage in India because of the repeat Stoller and rupee vs.

Euro comparison we can be very competitive commercially says Raju the question now is will hell manage to attract suitors for a 10% stake on the block under the disinvestment program after a stuttering start it is finally gearing up to launch road shows for its listing hopefully there won’t be any turbulence this time .

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