Tuesday, December 07, 2010

BEML exploring foray into helicopter, small aircraft assembly


BANGALORE: Public Sector Undertaking BEML is exploring the possibility of venturing into the business of assembly of helicopters and small aircraft.

"When you are in aerospace (business), it (assembly of helicopters and small aircraft) can't be out of your radar," Chairman and Managing Director of the Bangalore-headquartered Mini-Ratna company under the Ministry of Defence V R S Natarajan said.

"We are looking at the possibility," he said. BEML Ltd has made a set of landing gears for helicopters of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and expecting orders, he said, adding, the company is already supplying some body parts of fighter aircraft.

BEML is now setting up a facility for fabricating titanium metal, aluminium and composites - things used in manufacture of helicopters.

To start with, the company is seeking to position itself as a "single-point" for products for ground-support, and those related to hydraulics, lift and ladder and also strengthen its business of manufacturing of aero-plane parts.

If indeed BEML finally decides to assemble helicopters and small aircraft, it could be sometime during 2011-12 to 2016-17 timeframe.

Natarajan said it's too premature to discuss this initiative as the proposal is only being explored now but he was clear that he saw assembly of helicopters and small aircraft a logical step forward for BEML.

"Ultimate objective is to move towards that only," he said.

He said the BEML has acquired 25-acres in a special economic zone at Devenahally on Bangalore outskirts, where it would design, manufacture and roll out aero and space products.

Aerospace products business is expected to contribute close to Rs ten crore to the overall turnover of BEML in the current financial year but in the next three years, this segment is projected to grow to Rs 100 crore.

The company is also in discussion with Indian Space Research Organisation for supplying components for its space programmes.

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