Hyderabad: The Telangana government plans to establish a Drone Testing Corridor in the State soon considering the boom in the drone industry, IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao said on Wednesday. “With the State fast emerging as an aero-engine cluster with numerous foreign and domestic industry majors operating out of Hyderabad, and with aerospace and defence sector witnessing a steady growth, the State government is also working closely with industry and academic partners to establish an aerospace/defence university or centre of excellence as well as an incubator for startups,” he said.
Rama Rao pointed out that Telangana was the first State to come up with its own Drone Policy and is the first State to deliver life-saving drugs and vaccines to remote areas in the State through the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project launched in partnership with the World Economic Forum. The Minister was addressing a gathering at an event organised to mark the delivery of the 150th C-130J Super Hercules empennage from the Hyderabad manufacturing facility of Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) here.
Rama Rao said the aerospace and defence sector was witnessing a steady and unprecedented growth in Telangana over the last five years. He stated that the State had attracted mega investments from leading foreign and domestic aerospace majors through its progressive policies, world-class infrastructure, pro-active skilling initiatives and focus on innovation. “I would love to see more people of Telangana employed. Hence, we are working closely with the leading industry players and academic partners to set up an aerospace defence university or a centre of excellence. It will go a long way in attracting good talent and ensuring a steady stream of employable personnel,” he said.
He explained that the other focus area was innovation in the aerospace and defence sector which was extremely important. He revealed that the Telangana government was in discussion with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and several other labs and urged the industry to work closely with the State government to partner and come up with a strong defence/aerospace incubator that would focus on startups. Hyderabad also has a significant space sector cluster as part of ISRO programmes. Over 30 per cent of components of Mars Orbitor Mission were manufactured by Hyderabad-based companies, he said.
TLMAL, a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, was established in 2010 in alignment with the Indian Air Force’s acquisition of its first six C-130J 30 Super Hercules airlifters. The Minister said the TLMAL and Tata Sikorsky Aerospace Limited, the two joint ventures by TASL and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, in Hyderabad employs more than 1,000 people and invested more than $100 million. Terming the Tata-Lockheed Martin partnership as a glowing example of collaboration between India and the US, he said similar strong partnerships were established such as GE Aviation and Boeing from Hyderabad. That the Indo-US JVs base could industrialise and ramp up complex global manufacturing programmes at such a fast pace is a great testimony of the robustness and EoDB capabilities of Hyderabad’s aerospace ecosystem and policy support, the Minister said.
TASL managing director and chief executive officer Sukaran Singh said the TASL-Lockheed Martin partnership was a true demonstration of collaborated workmanship in aerospace and defence manufacturing in India. He added that the manufacturing and operational excellence achieved by the team through this decade-long partnership had led India to become the only supplier of C-130J Super Hercules empennage globally. TLMAL chief operating officer Kiran Dambala, Principal Secretary for IT and Industries Jayesh Ranjan and other officials also spoke on the occasion.
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