Mumbai: The government has approved 12 industrial licences for defence subsidiaries of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (R-Infra) for making helicopters, aircraft, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), among others.
The approvals were granted on 2 February, according to information posted on the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) website on Wednesday.
In November, R-Infra had secured in-principle approvals for the same. Now, the company has secured final approvals, which will help it forge tie-ups with international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Reliance Helicopters Ltd, Reliance Propulsion Systems Ltd, Reliance Aerostructure Ltd, Reliance Land Systems Ltd, Reliance SED Ltd, Reliance Naval Systems Ltd and Reliance Naval Systems Ltd are the companies that secured licences.
All companies are units of Reliance Defence Ltd.
The final approvals include permission for manufacturing aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, all-terrain combat vehicles (ATCVs), night-vision devices, sensors, navigation and surveillance equipment, propulsion systems and simulators.
The Reliance Infrastructure board had said in November that new high-growth opportunities in the defence sector, arising from the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, serve vital national priorities and have several attractive features.
The new industrial licences will help Reliance Defence fulfil various requirements of the Indian armed forces, starting from small arms to missile systems and combat aircraft.
Recently, the government increased the initial validity of a licence for the defence sector to seven years from three years, further extendable up to three years, in view of the long gestation period of defence contracts.
In the aerospace segment, with licences to manufacture military aircraft and helicopters, the company will be looking at the amphibious aircraft requirement of the Indian Navy pegged at ₹ 9,000 crore and light utility helicopters, an opportunity valued at more than ₹ 20,000 crore, a person close to the development said.
In land systems, R-Infra has got licences for manufacturing missiles and All Terrain Combat Vehicles. Key programs in these segment include short, medium and long range missile systems with program value in excess of ₹ 50,000 crore. The Indian Army will spend an additional ₹ 50,000 crore over next 10-15 years on different combat vehicles.
The person quoted above said for the naval systems, R-Infra is focusing on key systems as is evident from the licences for Air Independent Propulsion Technology and Hull penetrators and connectors along with motor shafts and propulsion systems.
“Reliance Naval Systems is already working on C4I, underwater systems, weapons, radars and electro optic systems. Indian Navy has ambitious plans of inducting new vessels under different programs amounting to ₹ 300,000 crore. Typically, systems contribute 50 to 60% of the cost in case of naval warships," the person said.
A Reliance Defence spokesperson confirmed the development.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.