Aviation is a sunrise sector in India and has potential to generate a large number of design, production and management jobs, an industry veteran said today.
Speaking at the Aerospace Engineering Department of IIT, Powai here, Mahindra and Mahindra's Advisor, Aerospace Business Systech Sector, Air Marshal J S Gujral (Retd) said "Right now, we simply don't have enough engineers with project management skills in India. We intend to change that. The Indian Air Force is in the process of inducting Sukhois, Rafales and early warning aircraft. Since there is '50 per cent offset policy', a lot of manufacturing will be done within the country and this will lead to several jobs,".
Under the 'offsets policy', foreign vendors bagging large defence deals have to invest at least 30 per cent of the worth of the deal in Indian defence, civil aviation and homeland security sector.
He said that in the next ten years, USD 100 billion worth of defence aircraft would be acquired and inducted.
"This will generate a lot of job opportunities. The 50 per cent offset policy will surely help. But right now the situation is that even if original equipment manufacturers allow us to manufacture the engine of the aircraft, we simply don't have the skills and capabilities. Lack of indigenisation is affecting our operational capabilities and we cannot afford to let this state of affairs continue any longer," he said.
However, he expressed satisfaction that India has managed to substantially improve its systems integration skills and capabilities in the defence sector.
"While we are still dependent on imports, we have managed to improve our systems integration skills. Even the Sukhois which we have purchased from Russia will have vastly superior avionics. We now have the capability to tell the Russian original equipment manufacturers what exactly we want. We also have the capability to integrate whatever sub-systems we want into the aircraft, he said.
Meanwhile, he informed that the work on Mahindra's Rs 285-crore greenfield facility at Narsapur near Bangalore to make small aircrafts would be completed by end of the year.