Tamil Nadu

Defence corridor: T.N. seeks Centre’s support

The Industries Minister with the Union Defence Minister  

Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu called on Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Monday and handed over to him a memorandum seeking the Centre’s support for various proposals in the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.

Mr. Thennarasu proposed that the funding for the corridor may be shared between the State and the Centre in the ratio of 25:75. Tamil Nadu urged the Defence Ministry to sanction six major proposals. Under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme, the State sought sanction for five proposals — communication systems & RF antenna in Chennai; testing infrastructure for unmanned aircraft systems in Ulundurpet/Sholavaram; a mechanical and material testing facility in Tiruchi; electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility tests in Chennai; and testing infrastructure for ammunitions in Tiruchi.

Pointing out that only one Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab was located in Tamil Nadu, the State government requested the Centre to establish two such labs in the defence industrial corridor nodes in Coimbatore and Tiruchi.

It also sought the transfer of the Indian Air Force airstrip in Ulundurpet or Sholavaram on lease to it for setting up an aviation technology hub.

“Considering various factors like connectivity, availability of ground/air space, non-intrusion into existing ATS routes/terminal marshalling areas/local flying zones and proximity to industrial infrastructure, the Ulundurpet airstrip and the Sholavaram airstrip have been identified as suitable locations for hosting the proposed facilities,” the memorandum said.

Ulundurpet in Kallakurichi district houses a World War-II vintage airstrip with two runways measuring 1,405 metres and 1,770 metres in length and 40 metres in width. It was earlier owned by the Tamil Nadu government. The entire land parcel, including the runway, is spread over an area of 160 acres.

Similarly, the Sholavaram airstrip was not being utilised. “One of the air fields can be given on lease to TIDCO (Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation) to develop the aviation technology hub in the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor,” the memorandum said.

Though the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was sourcing a large number of components/equipment/sub-systems from Tamil Nadu, it had no facility in the State, the memorandum pointed out. It requested the Union Minister to set up HAL’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) unit at Sulur in Coimbatore. The Indian Air Force has already allocated 20 acres for this purpose.

Tamil Nadu also sought the establishment of a joint venture between HAL and TIDCO for manufacturing AMCA and an Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH) facility. The State had, in July, discussed with HAL the possibility of setting up a common facility for post-machining processing/coating in Hosur or Coimbatore. It had also discussed setting up a joint venture between HAL and TIDCO. The State government sought the early announcement of a Central scheme to support and promote investment in the defence industrial corridors. It proposed that funding may be shared between the State and Central governments in the ratio of 25:75 instead of 50:50. It also requested to increase the number of units (in both the Defence Industrial Corridors) for which the capital subsidy is to be sanctioned under this scheme.

As the Cabinet Committee on Security has approved a ₹10,990-crore programme to indigenously develop airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems for use by the Indian Air Force, it would be based on the existing Netra Mk-1 developed by the Centre for Airborne Systems, a DRDO lab, with active participation from the industry in Tamil Nadu. The CABS needed a development cum production partner from the industry that would produce five Netra 2. “The Tamil Nadu government is actively promoting the formation of a PPP consortium through TIDCO for development and commercial production of these systems,” the memorandum said. It requested the Government of India’s support for promoting the TIDCO-led industry consortium for the development and commercial production of AEW&C systems.

The Tamil Nadu government’s special representative in Delhi A.K.S. Vijayan and Industries Secretary N. Muruganandam were present during the meeting.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:08:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/defence-corridor-tn-seeks-centres-support/article36704935.ece

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