Bengaluru: Bharat Forge Ltd and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group on Wednesday announced their foray into defence manufacturing in India.
While Bharat Forge will set up four manufacturing plants, Reliance Group has launched a defence arm and is looking at two helicopter projects.
Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani said his company will set up the plants this year. “It’s time now for action," Kalyani said speaking at a CEO seminar at the Aero Show 2015 in Bengaluru, chaired by Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
Bharat Forge will set up plants for artillery guns, anti-tank missiles, armoured vehicles and aerospace components.
The aerospace components facility has already got an order from The Boeing Co.
Boeing announced at the aero show it has signed a multi-year contract with Bharat Forge to supply titanium forgings for wing components for the Next-Generation Boeing 737 and 737 MAX planes.
Under the agreement, Bharat Forge will begin supplying pre-machined forgings from its facilities in Pune and Baramati in Maharashtra to Boeing in the first quarter of 2016. The titanium parts will be heat-treated, shaped in a forging press, and machined by Bharat Forge before being shipped to Boeing Portland for finish machining into components.
The components then will be installed in the Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX wings at the final assembly plant in Renton.
“We are pleased to welcome Bharat Forge into our supply chain as they have an impressive record of performance across many industries," said Kent Fisher, vice-president and general manager, supplier management, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our discussions with Bharat Forge chairman and managing director Baba Kalyani and his leadership team leading up to this agreement have demonstrated not only a high level of technical expertise, but also an understanding of the need to meet aviation market requirements for affordability."
Boeing has multi-billion dollar offset commitments in India for dozens of planes bought by Air India Ltd and the armed forces which require it to source from India.
Offset is an element that counterbalances or compensates an act. It is a set-off from a development, in this case, military acquisition.
The new Reliance Aerospace and Defence Ltd will foray into defence. “As you know we didn’t have a footprint in India’s defence landscape. But we are now ready to change that—in a big way," Anil Ambani said.
He later elaborated in an interview that he plans “to start with" two projects which will be to manufacture naval utility helicopter and army utility helicopter.