The Saras gets off the ground
Bangalore’s state-owned aeronautics twins NAL and HAL have successfully put the Saras into air, the prototype of which cost about $7m. Some 60-70% of the components were made indigenously although critical components like avionics and engines were foreign made.
For India to truly take on the likes of Brazil’s Embraer in the international aircraft market, the Indian government must rethink its development strategy for this industry. HAL and NAL must continue to do what they are good at – design and prototype new aircraft, but they must license the manufacturing and commercialisation to the private sector. With the right kind of incentives, it is quite possible for India’s private sector to throw up an Embraer. That process will be much easier if the government would allow foreign investment into the sector.