India’s sole aerospace solution provider, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has expressed grave concerns regarding the depleting production orders for fixed wing aircraft. The order book of the state-run HAL, which once buoyed at an average 1.5 – 2 lakh crore, has now come crashing to a mere INR 41,000 crore, triggering alarm bells amongst its workforce.
Suvarna Raju, Chairman, HAL, speaking at the annual L.M. Katre memorial lecture in Bengaluru, said that the current order book of HAL stands at INR 41,000 crore and that it was extremely low in the aeronautical industry. He further quipped that if the existing situation prevails, HAL would have no orders for fixed-wing aircraft in the next three years.
A major part of HAL’s workforce is currently concentrating on completing the Air Force’s current order for the Su-30 MKIs which are being manufactured at Nasik facility. Of the 272 Su-30s ordered by the Air Force, HAL has already delivered about 235 aircraft and has a capacity to rollout 12 aircraft annually. According to its Chairman, the PSU will deliver the remaining 35-40 aircraft by 2020.
With completion of Su-30 orders, HAL’s thriving Nasik facility is staring towards a complete halt of production activities. HAL had initially planned to equip the state-of-the-art facility to manufacture the then expected FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) soon after the completion of Su-30 orders. However, it backfired as India and Russia remain at loggerheads in regard to the FGFA program.
Representatives from HAL’s Nasik facility have met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and top officials of Ministry of Defence (MoD) to aid the facility to emerge from the blue. Speaking about recourse, T Suvarna Raju said that his company’s hope rests solely on the order for 83 LCA Tejas Mk-1A aircraft.