On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will open the largest helicopter factory in Karnataka State, India, the defence ministry said on Saturday. This is considered a boost for ‘self-reliant India’ in the defence manufacturing sector.
In 2016, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was established as a helicopter manufacturer. Its first focus was on making light utility helicopters (LUH), then light combat helicopters (LCH), and finally, Indian multirole helicopters (IMRH).
“HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tons, with a total business of more than ₹4 lakh crore over 20 years. Besides generating direct and indirect employment, the Tumakuru facility will boost the development of surrounding areas through its corporate social responsibility activities with large-scale community-centric programmes on which the company will spend substantial amounts,” the ministry said in a statement.
It was stated that the factory was designed with the vision of becoming a one-stop solution for the helicopter requirements of the country. According to the ministry, the factory will produce roughly 30 helicopters annually at first, which can be grown to 60 and, ultimately, 90 units.
Since 2016, India has increased its investment and modernization of military equipment. The Indian government spent 702.21 billion rupees on weapons manufactured at home by Indian defence contractors in the fiscal year 2021-2022. For the fiscal year 2022-2023, India spent over 845.98 billion rupees on domestically produced weapons, as reported by Defense News.
On the other hand, India has proposed spending $72.6 billion for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, an increase of 13% from the initial estimate for the previous period. This increase is intended to add more jets and military infrastructure along the county’s tense border with China said finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Over the past few years, Prime Minister Modi has increased expenditure on military modernization while stressing his government’s commitment to growing domestic production to supply forces stationed along two tense frontiers.
With a 13% hike in the proposed budget, India aims to invest in the infrastructure, such as spending $ 3 billion on constructing its naval fleet and $7 billion on acquiring new aircraft for its air force.
Meanwhile, India has instituted a three-year embargo on importing 411 types of weapons and systems, including several helicopters; over the following five to six years, these will be gradually converted to indigenous production to increase its independence in the defence industry.