• Reliance Defence plans to make 80-seater passenger aircraft with Ukraine’s Antonov

    Reliance Defence , part of the Anil Ambani-led Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), is looking to manufacture 50-80 seater passenger aircraft in India soon with the help of its Ukraine joint venture partner Antonov .

    This makes Reliance the first Indian company to do so in the last 25 years after Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which discontinued production. The move by Reliance Defence to make passenger aircraft in India also comes in the backdrop of HAL proposing to form a joint venture in India with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to produce and supply 50-80 seater aircraft.

    Reliance Defence’s president M.Matheswaran said their JV would also work with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics to produce low cost passenger aircrafts aimed at meeting the growing demand for connectivity to nearly 400 tier-II and tier-III Indian cities.

    He was speaking to journalists in Hyderabad on the eve of world’s largest cargo aircraft of Antonov, Mriya-The Dream, landing in India.

    Plan of action The 51:49 joint venture between Reliance and Antonov would initially start assembling aircraft with completely knocked down (CKD) units at its aerospace park in Nagpur, coming up at Rs 6,500 crore, and complete the indigenisation over the next 15-20 years.

    The Reliance’s Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park in Mihan near Nagpur hopes to begin work on making aerospace components at the earliest possible.

    Reliance Defence had in March last week signed an agreement with the Ukraine based state corporation Antonov to cooperate on dual version transport aircraft for military, para military and commercial use in India.

    First response submitted “We have submitted the first response to RFI (request for information) (called for by HAL) and will be followed by RFP (request for proposal), which we expect in two-three months’ time,” said Matheswaran. “When they issue the RFP, we will respond. Once we are confident we’ll win that, then entire set up will come in.”

    Off-the-shelf buying Further, the Reliance Defence chief said, “There will be some initial offthe-shelf buying and supply to Indian airline operators first to show the strength and capabilities and (will) then follow it up by taking orders from them.”

    Matheswaran said the joint venture with Antonov would not only confine its business just to the Indian continent but also address the growing needs of the regional market for low-cost aircraft and subsequently, explore opportunities that are available across the globe. Jalen Mills Authentic Jersey

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