After successfully venturing into the steel and automobile industries, the $70 billion Tata Group is turning its focus to the aerospace industry. Group company Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, which rolled out the country's first made-in-India Sikorksy S-92 helicopter cabin from the Aerospace SEZ in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, is now firming up plans to set up another helicopter cabin production facility in partnership with Finmeccanica's Augusta Westland.
During a one-on-one with Ratan N Tata, chairman, Tata Sons, state chief minister K Rosaiah strongly urged him to consider Hyderabad as the potential destination for the facility. The company is currently evaluating two locations - Hyderabad and Bangalore - for its proposed facility, according to a press release.
Tata, who was in Hyderabad to unveil Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's helicopter cabin, announced that due to the proactive support from the State, it had been decided to centre all their aerospace and defence-related activities in Hyderabad.
''The Tata Group has decided that all its aerospace and defence (business), which is really the new area of Tata Group, will in fact be centred in Hyderabad,'' Tata said, adding, ''This is going to enthuse the private sector in defence and strategic areas -- one of the larger new areas of endeavour of the Tata Group.''
In February, 2009, the Tata Group signed an MoU with Augusta Westland to establish a joint venture company for AW119 helicopter assembly, completion and delivery to customers worldwide. It had earlier indicated that the proposed facility's first helicopter delivery is scheduled for 2011 and production will eventually rise to 30 units per annum.
Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh used an Augusta Westland helicopter to ferry the late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, who died when the copter crashed.