An indigenously designed small aircraft prototype, developed at a cost of $11.2 million by Mahindra & Mahindra, will be launched soon, a top company official has said. With successful production of the prototype, India will become one of the select few countries that manufacture commercial aircraft.
''Yes, our very first prototype that is designed in India and manufactured in Australia will be coming out soon... We are not rushing it,'' said Karthik Krishnamurthy, the chief technology officer of Mahindra Aerospace, the aviation division of the Mahindra Group.
Krishnamurthy told media that Mahindra& Mahindra had entered into a joint venture with National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL) to manufacture aircraft and aero components. To this end it was setting up a facility at Bangalore with an investment of over $60 million.
The company had in January this year acquired a two-decade-old Australian aviation company, GippsAero, headquartered in Melbourne, to manufacture aircraft. Mahindra would soon manufacture aircraft at the GippsAero facility in Melbourne, with design work done in Bangalore.
Krishnamurthy said utility aircraft of five, eight, 10, 18 and 22-seat capacity would be manufactured.
''The first prototype will be a five-seat capacity. The 2-20 seating utility aircraft market is witnessing sustained growth and these aircraft can be used for tourism, cargo and adventure sport than the normal commercial aircraft,'' he said.