Plan to turn HAL into aviation production hub

New Delhi, Jul 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2007, 04:09am hrs
Blueprints are nearly finalised to turn premier public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) into a major aviation production hub, comparable to global aircraft makers, in the next few years.

A comprehensive plan prepared in-house to give effect to such a vision was reviewed at a high level meeting chaired by the minister of state for defence Rao Inderjit Singh in South Block on Monday.

The plan billed as review and restructuring of HAL, which was recently categorised as a Navratna company, envisages increasing its assembly lines. Setting up of an aircraft engine producing cell also came up for discussion at the meeting that lasted two hours.

Besides the minister, the meeting was attended by defence secretary (production) K P Singh, HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja and the joint secretary in-charge of HAL in the ministry of defence.

For its rapid expansion, HAL, as per the blueprint, does not want to draw into the government finances, but hopes to fuel its growth through offsets accruing from purchase of aircraft, engines and allied platforms by the three services, Air Force, Navy and Army.

The meeting assumes significance as the defence ministry is about to float Indias biggest ever defence tender for the purchase of 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft in a deal worth over Rs 40,000 crores ($10 billion ).

Ministry officials have made it clear that the target of offsets from the deal is expected to be 50%20% more than what was originally fixed earlier under the Defence Procurement Procedure in 2006.