Falcon plane nostril cone manufacturing to start

Nagpur: Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) will be starting commercial production at its unit in Mihan-SEZ from Wednesday. The company was set up following the offset agreement arising out of the deal to buy 36 Raffale fighter jets for Indian Air Force (IAF) from France’s Dassault.
The commercial operations will be flagged off after what the company calls to be an ‘internal function’ scheduled to be held on Wednesday itself. District collector Sachin Kurve and Mihan’s development commissioner SS Das will be the guests of honour.

The unit set up at the SEZ here is part of Reliance’s aerospace park which is planned over an area of 104 acres at the SEZ.

The company has not issued any details of the function. Sources in the know said the first unit for manufacturing aircraft spares is set to get functional now.

The unit would start with making nose cones for Falcon — the business jet made by Dassault. “The first batch is expected to be dispatched by the third quarter of 2018,” said the sources, adding that work would soon begin on setting up a second unit for making more spares.

Initially, the DRAL would be limited to making spares for the Falcon aircraft. Subsequently, there are plans to assemble the entire aircraft at the Nagpur unit, the source said.

The company had held the ground-breaking ceremony of the project in October last year during which ADAG chief Anil Ambani and several other political leaders were present. “It is a huge achievement that commercial production is beginning within six months of that. With the second unit too set to begin in due course and the progress that is being made, it is expected that assembling of the aircraft may begin by 2022,” said the source.

The offset arrangement out of the 36 Raffale purchase deal comes to over Rs30,000 crore. Most of it is to be implemented at the Nagpur plant.

“The initial focus will be on the civilian aircraft. The unit may not make the spares of the 36 Raffale aircraft being purchased for the IAF, though further orders can be expected eventually,” said a company source.

ADAG had announced its plans at its Mihan unit in 2015. At Rs6,500 crore, it is being dubbed as the biggest investment in Mihan so far.

Initially, ADAG planned to have the project in an area of nearly 300 acres. It was brought down to 104 acres at the company’s request. “The first unit is expected to spread over in an area of nearly 1,000 square meters,” said the source.

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