A top aviation expert advises the country to take a 360-degree inventory of its aviation industry to avoid a situation similar to Russia in the event of a conflict. The Russian aerospace industry is highly developed, producing well-known aircraft names such as Beriev, Ilyushin, Irkut, Tupolev, and Sukhoi.
The US and its NATO allies’ sanctions against Russia should serve as a warning to India’s aviation sector. In the event that India is pushed into a confrontation with a hostile country, it will need to take adequate measures to protect a high-value strategic industry such as aviation.
“The sad situation with Russia and Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call for the Indian aviation industry and top decision-makers. Despite having a far more developed aircraft maintenance industry, Russian airlines’ reliance on foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) contractors has brought their entire civil aviation industry to a halt “Caladrius Aero Consulting’s Rohit Tomar is a partner in the aviation consultancy.
The Russian aerospace industry is highly developed, producing well-known aircraft names such as Beriev, Ilyushin, Irkut, Tupolev, and Sukhoi. Airbus and Boeing, on the other hand, account for more than 60% of all civilian aircraft flying in the country. Following the imposition of sanctions, the two countries have restricted Russia’s access to their repair manuals, spare parts, and service facilities in other countries.
“India is significantly more vulnerable, relying on foreign OEMs and MROs for about 90% of its needs. Now is the time for strategic think tanks to seriously consider why western OEMs are unwilling to provide India these skills. The basic response is that a country’s absence of such skills can readily be used to impose penalties on it in order to force it to negotiate “Tomar offered his two cents.
The country’s civil aviation business is currently valued at Rs 90,000 crore, according to official estimates. The MRO industry accounts for approximately 15% of this, or Rs 13,500 crore. However, now, 85 percent of MRO-related work is offshored to nations such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, with only 15% being done in India.
Is it possible to manufacture in India?
Another area where India could concentrate its efforts is aeroplane production. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been integrating the TEJAS, a single-engine multi-role light combat aircraft (LCA) developed in-house, into its fleet since 2016. The situation in Ukraine demonstrates the importance of stepping up to the plate in order to build a strong aeronautical engineering ecosystem.
“This battle also emphasises the importance of not only manufacturing aircraft in India, but also making them exportable.” Tomar maintained that marketing aviation products necessitates investments and associated infrastructure from the place of manufacture, including insurance and financing support. Currently, the country does not produce passenger aircraft. GIFT City, near Ahmedabad, is being promoted as a thriving hub for aircraft leasing.
“The achievement of western countries in isolating Russian-made aircraft items on a worldwide scale is part of their aim to maintain the dominance of western-made aviation products.”
“It’s not unexpected that China saw this key area as a power lever and invested in and produced an indigenous product to counteract western countries’ negotiation