Nagpur: Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), which is scaling up its operations at Mihan-SEZ, plans to start production of fuselage assemblies of Falcon 2000 aircraft — the business jet made by Dassault Aviation, as a next step.

The DRAL unit at Mihan has been set up under the offset agreement arising out the sale of 36 Rafale fighter planes by France’s Dassault Aviation to Indian Air Force (IAF).

DRAL, which has started operations at Nagpur over a year ago, began with smaller components like fuel tank and cockpit assemblies. It will be shifting to a larger unit within its plot in Mihan.

The unit is expected to be ready soon and production of the fuselage assemblies is planned to start in August. This will be a major step towards a larger plan of finally flying an entire Falcon 2000 from the Mihan unit by 2022.

Fuselage component is a major part of the aircraft structure. In terms of proportion, in an entire aircraft it comes to as much as 45% of the mechanical structure of a plane, explained a source. In simpler words, a sizeable part of the aircraft’s body would be made here.

Once the production begins, it is projected that the first unit of fuselage assembly may be shipped out in October or November. A formal inauguration of the new set up is also expected to be held around a month after the production starts at the unit here.

The Rafale purchase has led to an offset obligation worth over Rs30,000 crore toward Dassault which will be carried out through DRAL. However, at present DRAL will be carrying out works only related to the Falcon which is a civilian jet made by Dassault under the offset deal. There are no plans at least in the immediate term for starting work related to the Rafale aircraft.

DRAL’s unit is within the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park (DAAP). Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL) was allotted land in Mihan for the aerospace park. The company has secured a co-developer status which means it can also allot space to other players in the area. DRAL, which is a joint venture between Reliance and Dassault, has been allotted 60 acres by RAL.

Sources said DRAL at present has employed 50 persons. However, there are plans to take it up to 500 when the unit eventually is fully operational making an entire aircraft from here.

France’s Thales Group has also been allotted six acre land in the RAL’s area. Sources said work is at an advanced stage at the site where the company would be coming up with a radar testing unit.

DRAL has been allotted land in Reliance Aerostructure Limited’s area in Mihan
RAL which has got 111 acre land in Mihan has a co-developer status
This means it can allot land to other players
DRAL to carry out work under offset obligation arising out 36 Rafale fighter jet purchase
Work to remain limited to Falcon, the civilian jet of Dassault, at present