Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), also known as Tata A&D, is looking to make big strides in the defence sector with plans to tender for supply of combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
TASL has already entered into a collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space under which 40 of the 56 C-295 transport aircraft for which order has been placed with Aibus Defence will be produced in India by the Tata consortium of TASL and Tata Consultancy Services. Airbus Defence will deliver 16 C-295 aircraft in flyaway condition from Spain, reports cited defence secretary Ajay Kumar as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the cornerstone of a manufacturing facility for the C-295 medium transport aircraft at Vadodara in Gujarat on 30 October in a move that is being seen as a boost for the government's Make in India initiative.
The facility will be used to produce the 40 C-295 modern transport fleet of the Indian Air Force. The defence ministry has entrusted TASL to build the C-295 tactical airlifter, in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space.
The defence ministry is also expected to soon float the biggest-ever tender for acquisition of 114 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA). ASL is looking for a share in the world’s biggest fighter acquisition, say reports.
TASL has formed three joint ventures by partnering with three global defence OEMs — Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky and Boeing.
Lockheed Martin, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the iconic F-16 fighter aircraft, hopes to win the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender. That would trigger a shift in the F-16 production line to India, where a joint venture (JV) between TASL and Lockheed Martin would build the F-21 — an advanced version of the F-16 fighter.
TASL hopes to become India’s biggest A&D manufacturer, and, perhaps, build the F-21 in India.
The Tata Group has identified A&D as an area of strategic growth and has structured TASL as the lead entity to pursue growth in this sector. TASL is composed of six entities, which were earlier the defence verticals of six Tata Group companies.
Earlier this year, The Boeing Company chose TASL as its “Supplier of the Year, 2022”, in the teeth of fierce competition from 11,000 supplier companies.
TASL’s infrastructure is spread across three locations in India — Hyderabad, Nagpur and Bengaluru — with complementary capabilities and certifications. This helps in mitigation of risk, say company executives.
In barely a decade, TASL has industrialised more than a million square feet, setting up facilities for in-house engineering, product re-engineering, process engineering, tooling, machining, fabrication, special processes, and major assemblies.
This includes Rs 200,000 square feet of detailed part fabrication capability; 450,000 square feet of composites manufacturing capability; 450,000 square feet of major assembly capability; and 106,000 square feet of aero engines capability.
These production lines supply to many of the world’s top A&D companies, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Sikorsky, General Electric and Rolls-Royce. According to company executives, TASL is a single-source supplier on 20 A&D manufacturing programmes around the world.