We have to minimise foreign dependence for our defence needs: PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Helicopter Factory at Tumakuru in Karnataka on February 06, 2023. He took a walkthrough of the Helicopter Facility & Structure Hangar and unveiled the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). The factory is India’s largest helicopter manufacturing facility and will initially produce LUHs.

The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed three-ton class, single engine multipurpose utility helicopter with unique features of high manoeuvrability. Initially, this factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 per year in a phased manner.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, Karnataka is a land of saints and sages that have always strengthened the Indian traditions of spirituality, knowledge and scientific values. He lauded the talent and innovation of Karnataka’s youth and said the manufacturing sector’s strength is manifested in products from drones to Tejas fighter planes. “Double-engine government has made Karnataka the first choice of investors,” the Prime Minister asserted and illustrated the point by the HAL project dedicated today, for which he had laid the foundation stone in 2016 with a pledge for reducing foreign dependence for defence needs.

The Prime Minister expressed delight that hundreds of arms and defence equipment are being manufactured in India which are being used by the Armed Forces. “From advanced assault rifles to tanks, aircraft carriers, helicopters, fighter jets, transport aircraft, India is manufacturing it all”, the Prime Minister remarked. Throwing light on the aerospace sector, the Prime Minister pointed out that the investment made in this sector in the last 8-9 years is five times the investment made before 2014 plus 15 years prior. The Prime Minister underlined that Made in India arms are not just supplied to the armed forces but the defence exports have also grown manifold when compared to the years before 2014. He emphasised that hundreds of helicopters are going to be manufactured in this facility itself in the near future which will give rise to businesses worth Rs four lakh crore. “When such manufacturing units are set up, it does not just strengthen the Armed Forces but also creates employment and self-employment opportunities,” Shri Modi remarked as he underlined that small businesses near the helicopter manufacturing facility in Tumkuru will get empowered.

The Prime Minister emphasised that with the spirit of ‘Nation First’ success is assured. He talked about revamping and reforms in the working of the public sector enterprises as well as opening up opportunities for the private sector.

The Prime Minister referred to the recent propaganda to target the government in the name of HAL and said that falsehood, no matter how big, frequent or high, is always defeated in the face of truth. “This factory and the rising strength of HAL has exposed the purveyors of falsehood. Reality is speaking for itself,” he said and added that today the same HAL is making modern Tejas for the Armed forces and is a centre of global attraction and bolstering India’s ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in the defence sector.

In his address, the Raksha Mantri lauded the Prime Minister’s visionary leadership, saying that it has fuelled the rise of a ‘New India’ which has the ability to illuminate the world with its light. He stated that India has been a major centre for production and export of silk, cotton & steel and it has now embarked on a journey to become a global hub in manufacturing, especially in the field of defence. He described the HAL Helicopter Factory as a testament to the country’s growing indigenous capabilities and the Government’s unwavering resolve to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence manufacturing.

Shri Rajnath Singh also called the inauguration as a tribute to the innumerable heroes and freedom fighters of Karnataka who sacrificed their lives to protect the nation. He added that the facility is a reflection of the Swadeshi movement inspired by leaders like Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. “The Swadeshi movement, which started a century ago, was the first phase of our independence. That was National Movement 1.0. Our vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is the second phase. It is National Movement 2.0, through which we are moving fast towards freedom from foreign equipment,” he said.

The Raksha Mantri stressed that under the Prime Minister’s leadership, the Armed Forces have marched ahead in the defence of the nation with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. Not just the soldiers, but scientists, engineers, machinists, technicians, MSMEs, individual innovators, start-ups, industrial workers and all other sections are contributing to national security and socio-economic empowerment of the country, he added. Shri Rajnath Singh stated that while the Armed Forces are at the borders, every citizen is behind the scene supporting and encouraging them. The HAL Helicopter Facility is a proof of that collective resolve, he said.

About HAL Helicopter Factory

The Greenfield Helicopter Factory, spread across 615 acres of land, is planned with a vision to become a one-stop solution for all helicopter requirements of the country. After initially producing LUHs, the factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs). It will also be used for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future. Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory.

The HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonnes, with a total business of over Rs four lakh crores over a period of 20 years. Besides generating direct and indirect employment, the Tumakuru facility will boost the development of surrounding areas through its CSR activities with large-scale community centric programmes on which the company will spend substantial amounts. All this will result in improvement in the people’s lives in the region.

The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill & infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas. Medical and health care would also reach the community residing in the various nearby Panchayats.

With the establishment of facilities like Heli-Runway, Flight Hangar, Final Assembly Hangar, Structure Assembly Hangar, Air Traffic Control and various supporting service facilities, the factory is fully operational. This factory is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations. This factory will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and giving much needed fillip to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in helicopter design, development, and manufacture.

Karnataka Chief Minister Shri Basavaraj Bommai, Ministers of the state government and senior officials of Ministry of Defence were among those present on the occasion.

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