Hyderabad: Hyderabad is poised to become a blip on the world’s defence map soon when the Tata Advanced Systems unit will start rolling out spare parts for the C-130J, the special operations aircraft made by the US that is presently in service in 15 countries. The Hyderabad factory will become operational over the next year now that Tata Advanced Systems has entered into a joint venture with Lockheed Martin. The US aerospace major has supplied six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) the contract for which mandates Lockheed to invest 30 per cent of the deal within the country.
“The factory will manufacture replacement centre wing boxes and tail sections for every new C-130 J sold around the world. Beginning August, all C-130Js sold to any country will be built in Hyderabad,” Lockheed Martin’s India head Roger M Rose told Express. Designed for special operations, the four-engine C-130J can land troops behind enemy lines. Capable of operating from a short runway, it can also operate in pitch dark conditions.
Tata Advanced Systems holds 74 per cent of the stake in the joint venture (JV), and Lockheed 26 per cent--the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit allowed in defence sector. Tata Advanced Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons with focus on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence, homeland security and disaster management.
“This is our first JV in India and it will strengthen our foothold in the Indian defence market,” said Roger, beaming about the fact that his company delivered six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to IAF well before deadline. The IAF had signed the $1 billion deal for the six aircraft in 2008.
The factory is being set up in a special economic zone (SEZ) at Adibhatla near Hyderabad along with Tata’s two other JVs. Tata Advanced Systems also has a JV with Sikorsky Aerospace Services to manufacture helicopter cabins with with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. That unit will manufacture cabins for all S-92 helicopters. Another JV with Israeli Air Force Technologies named NOVA has been allotted 30 acres land in the SEZ.