In a big leap for India's defence manufacturing, Tata Boeing Aerospace (TBAL), a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) today inaugurated its facility to produce fuselages for the AH-64 Apache helicopter.
Spread over 14,000-square metres and employing 350 highly skilled workers, the facility will be the sole global producer of fuselages for AH-64 Apache helicopter delivered by Boeing to its global customers including the US Army, a joint press release from Tata and Boeing said.
The new facility, which is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make-in-India initiative, will also produce secondary structures and vertical spar boxes of this multi-role combat helicopter. The delivery of the first fuselage is expected in 2018.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Telangana Minister for Industries and IT, KT Rama Rao inaugurated the facility. Inaugurating the facility Sitharaman said, "I congratulate Tata and Boeing for making this substantial investment in the defence space," she said.
After May 2014, there has been a great push to revive manufacturing, she added.
TBAL, Boeing s first equity JV in India, is the result of a 2015 partnership agreement with TASL. Construction of the manufacturing facility began in 2016 and was completed on schedule.
In addition, Boeing and TASL have worked closely to develop a pool of highly skilled aerospace talent through skill development initiatives.
Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India said TBAL is just the beginning of Boeing s future journey of partnership with India.
"We see this as a major step towards future opportunities to pursue the co-development of integrated systems in aerospace and defence," he said.
More than 2,300 Boeing-made Apache helicopters are operated by customers around the world since the aircraft entered production.
The Boeing-made Apache helicopter has been selected for acquisition by the armed forces of 16 countries, including India. The Indian ministry of defence finalised an order with Boeing for 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters in September 2015, deliveries for which are scheduled to begin in 2019.
US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus, Tata Sons and Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defence, Space and Security also spoke at the function.