Reliance Defence gets conditional nod for 12 industrial licences

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence has received conditional approval from the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) for 12 industrial licences for eight of its subsidiaries for making defence equipment.

The eight subsidiaries of Reliance Defence will be manufacturing a full spectrum of defence equipment, including aircraft, helicopters, missiles, and night vision, naval and land systems.

These greenfield defence projects by Reliance Infra subsidiaries will cover all critical requirements of the Indian armed forces under the 'Make in India' programme.

A meeting of the high-powered licensing committee of the DIPP at its meeting on 6 November cleared as many as 32 proposals for setting up manufacturing units in the defence and explosives sectors, including, Reliance Defence, OIS Advanced Technology Pvt Ltd, Shan Arms Industries Pvt Ltd, DCX Cable Assemblies Pvt Ltd, Avantel Ltd and Comint Systems And Solutions.

These approvals are crucial, especially when Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), the parent of Reliance Defence, has decided to focus on the defence business. The board of R-Infra at its meeting on 4 November had decided to focus on investments in the defence sector.

Reliance Defence plans to make Gujarat as its hub for making naval systems and warships. RInfra has acquired Gujarat-based Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd and plans to spend Rs5,000 crore for expansion there (See: Reliance Infra to take control of Pipavav Defence in Rs819-cr deal).

The group has selected Mihan, near Nagpur, to build the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park (DAAP) with investments of $1 billion. Reliance Defence is at an advanced stage of setting up the state-of-art aerospace park.

It has already acquired land for the aerospace park at Nagpur; this park entails an investment outlay of Rs6,500 crore. Similarly, the group will make an additional investment of Rs5,000 crore to further strengthen the infrastructure at P-DOC to meet the requirements of upcoming programmes.

The company will set up assembly lines and manufacturing facilities for fixed-wing aircraft, aero structures for commercial transport aircraft, and helicopters for both defence and commercial use.

Reliance Group has roped in Rajesh Dhingra, former MD of Lockheed Martin India, to lead the new initiative.

The IAF and Indian Army have a requirement of more than 600 light utility helicopters to replace the existing fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters.