Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence has received conditional approval for 12 industrial licenses for eight of its subsidiaries for making defence equipment including aircraft, helicopters, missiles, night vision gear and naval and land systems.
The approval is important as Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), the parent of Reliance Defence, has decided to focus on the defence business.
Reliance Group has roped in Rajesh Dhingra, former MD of Lockheed Martin India, to lead the new initiative.
Reliance Defence plans to make Gujarat as its hub for making naval systems and warships as RInfra has acquired Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd. for Rs.2,000 crore and plans to spend another Rs.5,000 crore for expansion there.
Reliance Group has selected Mihan, near Nagpur, to build the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park (DAAP) with investments of $1 billion. The company will set up assembly lines and manufacturing facilities for fixed-wing aircraft, aero structures for commercial transport aircraft, and helicopters for both defence and commercial use.
The IAF and Indian Army have a requirement of more than 600 light utility helicopters to replace the existing fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters.