On Nov. 30, minister for law and parliamentary affairs, T.B. Jayachandra, transferred 610 acres of land at Bidarehalla Kaval, 57 miles northwest of Bangalore, India, to the officers of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). HAL is governed by the Indian Ministry of Defence, and is the country's primary manufacturer of helicopters, as well as fixed-wing aircraft and aeronautical systems.
The unit, referred to as "Gubbi" for its location in a region by the same name, will manufacture and assemble light utility helicopters used by the army and air force for observation and rescue. Although specific models were not mentioned, the aircraft are said to have four to six seats. The complex will also carry out maintenance and overhaul operations, and might also be the assembly location for larger helicopters currently manufactured at HAL's Bangalor facility.
Mallikarjuna Swamy, a consultant to HAL, said that production of light utility helicopters will commence on the Gubbi parcel within the next 42 months. Construction of the factory will reportedly start as soon as the Karnataka Power Transmission Corp. runs high-tension lines to the project site, and other forms of critical infrastructure are put in.
HAL expects to build 50 helicopters a month at the facility using approximately 3,000 workers. Jayachandra said that the investment in the Gubbi unit is Rs.4000 crore ($643 million USD).