New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the Government has adopted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of ‘Make in India’, to build a strong defence and security infrastructure in the country. He was inaugurating the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Production Hangar at the Helicopter Division in the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Complex in Bengaluru, today. He said that in the last five years, India has made significant progress towards manufacturing military equipment indigenously under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Stressing that the Defence industry plays a major role in the economic development of the country, Singh lauded the significant contribution of organisations like HAL, a Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU), that has helped India leapfrog six places to become the fifth-largest economy in the world. He added that Defence exports have crossed Rs 17,000 crore in the last two years. Highlighting the Rs 35,000 crore exports target set for the coming years, Singh expressed confidence that HAL, through its various platforms, will contribute significantly in achieving this milestone.
Singh commended HAL for being the backbone of the Indian Air Force and meeting the requirements of the Armed Forces. “The HAL has excelled both in operations and finance in the last five years. It has achieved operational clearance on seven platforms, including Light Combat Aircraft and Light Combat Helicopter, and overhauled platforms like Hawk and SU 30 MKI,” he said.
Singh also appreciated that HAL had a turnover of Rs 19,705 crore till March 2019 and it gave shareholders a healthy dividend of 198%.
Noting that HAL is now facing stiff competition from private defence industries, Singh urged HAL to take this changing environment as a challenge and grab the opportunities to increase their competitiveness in the international market. He conveyed best wishes to HAL for its future projects in the field of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, hoping that the DPSU will lead India in civil aircraft business too.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman and Managing Director, R Madhavan said that the LCH is completely ready for operational induction and the Helicopter Complex is fully geared up for its production. He added that the new production hangar will augment the LCH production capacity to reach peak production of 30 helicopters per year.
HAL also apprised Singh on the progress of new design and development programme of indigenous Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH). The full-scale mock-up was showcased to Singh. The IMRH is proposed as replacement to the existing medium lift helicopters such as Mi17’s, Kamovs and Seakings which will phase out in the next eight to ten years.
LCH is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in the Forward Bases at Siachen, 4,700 metres above sea level with 500kg load.
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