India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has opened an electronics facility in the southern state of Kerala to produce advanced avionics for aircraft and helicopters.

The $12 million factory is located in the Kasaragod district and will make airborne special purpose systems such as mission computers, display processors, and radar computers for Sukhoi Su-30s, MiG-27s and Light Combat Aircraft.

The factory will also be expanded to develop avionics for medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) that include electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare suites and other communication and navigation equipment.

“Work on the second phase will begin soon. This will be developed into India’s most important aerospace firm,” Defense Minister A.K. Antony says.

The expertise acquired at Kerala’s production unit for advanced avionics of MMRCA will be utilized for upcoming projects like Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Multi-role Transport Aircraft, Light Utility Helicopter, Light Combat Helicopter, Medium Lift Helicopter and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

“The facility in Kerala will cater to the upgrade needs of fighter aircraft like Sukhois and Jaguars,” he added.

The Bengaluru-based HAL is the defense ministry’s production unit that meets essential requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF) like aircraft manufacturing, modification and electronics equipment making.

Earlier this month, the Indian government approved a proposal to divest a 10% stake in HAL, hoping to earn 25 billion rupees from the sale.

The HAL is currently handling some crucial projects for the IAF that include development of the Tejas light combat aircraft, Dhruv advanced light helicopters and indigenous production of Russian-origin Su-30MKI fighter aircraft.

Tejas photo: India Ministry of Defense