Hyderabad, June 18 (IANS) In a major boost for the Make in India initiative, US aerospace major Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have joined hands to set up a facility here to co-produce fuselages for the Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter and other aerostructures.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday laid the foundation stone of Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) at the aerospace Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Adibatla on the city outskirts.
The facility will also deal in integrated systems in aerospace and will eventually be the sole producer of AH-64 fuselage globally.
The AH-64 Apache is the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and used by the US forces as well as many other countries. The Indian Air Force is to purchase 22 machines.
Parrikar termed the joint venture one of the initial big foreign direct investment in defence and aerospace under the government's Make in India initiative. He noted that Boeing kept its word to him at the concluding of the Apache and Chinook deals last year.
"They had promised that this particular facility will be located in India and they will be shifting it from the place where they have the facility," he said.
TASL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, is already on contract to manufacture aerostructures for Boeing's CH-47 heavy-lift Chinook and AH-6 light attack helicopters.
Boeing and Tata had last year announced a joint venture for manufacturing aerostructures and collaboration on integrated systems development opportunities in India. This joint venture will create a manufacturing center of excellence to produce aerostructures for the AH-64 Apache and provide affordable manufacturing capabilities to the global aerospace industry.
Dave Koopersmith, Boeing's Vice President, Vertical Lift, said Indian industry was providing critical support to Boeing commercial and defence programmes. He said the company recently partnered with universities and scientific institutions across India which will not only enhance aerospace and defence development capabilities but to create engineering talent.
He said the ground breaking demonstrate Boeing's commitment to further expand aerospace ecosystem and footprint and continue developing key technologies in India.
Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said the company had doubled its procurement from India since last year to almost Rs 10 crore per day and planned to continue doing this.
TASL Chairman S. Ramadorai said the ground-breaking ceremony is a significant milestone in furthering their commitment to the Indian aerospace sector.
Tata Advanced Systems MD and CEO Sukaran Singh said they were proud to partner with a company like Boeing. "This is our 10th aerospace project between helicopters and aircraft. The capabilities that we have built allow us to move seamlessly between helicopters and aircraft as all of them are built to aerospace standards," he said.