Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the country's pre-eminent defence PSU, is eyeing a series of tie-ups with global aviation majors for military and civil projects. The tie-ups may well see the PSUs turnover trebling to $3 billion by 2011. According to HAL chairman, Ashok Baweja, the defence PSU has posted a turnover of Rs5,375 crore, for 2005-06, at a growth rate of over 18 per cent., and is expecting the turnover to close at Rs7,000 crore for the period 2006-07.
According to Baweja, HAL is currently being wooed by a number of global aircraft and aero-engine majors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Bell, Eurocopter, Pratt & Whitney, for sourcing and manufacturing tie-ups. Addressing a press conference, Baweja said, " With an order book of Rs28,000 crore and a robust financial health, the company is poised to leap to a turnover of over $3 billion (about Rs13,300 crore) in the next five years.'
'India is today an exciting place for world aviation majors who are looking at HAL as a partner. There are large offset opportunities in military and civil projects. Indian aviation is (set for) the same boom as IT and pharma sectors,' he said. According to Baweja, current orders for Sukhoi, Jaguar, LCA fighters and the indigenous intermediate jet trainer should keep the order books full for the next 3-4 years.
Baweja said that while HAL would continue with its core business of defence fleet maintenance, it was looking at entering the MRO field for civil aircraft in a tie-up with companies such as Airbus and its MRO associates, from 2008. He said that such facilities could be located at the existing airport's campus at Bangalore, which was due to shift to its new location at Devanhalli. He indicated that a decision on the MRO facility should be arrived at in the coming 1-2 months.
According to Baweja, HAL would invest Rs100 crore in a venture which will manufacture engine components at its Koraput division. The tooling process for the venture, a tie-up with Canadian aircraft engine major Pratt & Whitney (P&W),.was already underway and the facility would begin operations in a year or two. P&W will provide the technical support for the venture, including training and quality audit of the facilities.
According to Baweja, the JV was expected to generate an annual business of $50 million (around Rs200 crore) for HAL over the coming decade.
Baweja also mentioned that HAL had been contracted to supply the fuselages for G150 eight-seater business jets made by the US-based Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
HAL is also speeding up supply of 200 `Dhruv' advanced light helicopters, that it has contracted for with the Indian Armed Forces. It intends to scale up production of the Dhruv to around 35 per annum. Currently, 70 of these helicopters are in service, including those with civil agencies, such as the ONGC. A variant with a new glass cockpit is expected to be certified by February 2007, along with a high-altitude variant, which will be equipped with a new engine.
HAL is all set to sign a development project for a 60-tonne multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA), as part of a consortium with the Russian aircraft majors, the Irkut Corporation and the Ilyushin Design Bureau. The 60-tonne MRTA is also expected to evolve into a 100-seat civilian aircraft eventually. HAL will hold a 50 per cent stake in the proposed partnership, and the work share arrangement between the partners is expected to be finalised in a month's time.