Mahindra Aerospace, a venture of the Mahindra Group, inaugurated its aero-structures facility at Narsapura, about 50 km from here. “The facility is aimed at positioning the Indian footprint in the global aero-structures supply chain,” said Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group. Mr. Mahindra also announced that Mahindra Aerospace had entered into a “strategic” technology partnership with the Spanish Tier-I aero-structures supplier, the Aernnova Group. Mr. Mahindra said the company had invested about Rs.150 crore in the facility, which could generate an initial turnover of Rs.200 crore per annum. The facility, spread over 25,000 sq. metres, will employ about 400 personnel. Mr. Mahindra said the Group’s acquisition in 2010 of two Australian companies — Gippsland Aeronautics, a manufacturer of small aircraft, and Aerostaff, an aircraft component manufacturer — had given it a toehold in the global aircraft component supply chain. He said smaller turboprop aircraft had a bright future, especially in connecting smaller towns and inaccessible locations in the country. He said the company had developed capabilities in three segments — aerospace engineering, aero-structural and in the development of utility aircraft. Mr Hemant Luthra, President, Mahindra Systech, said Mahindra’s acquisitions and the partnership with Aernnova would help it get Tier-I certification (it currently enjoys Tier-II status as supplier to the aerospace industry). “This would help Mahindra Aerospace target a wider range of the available aerospace market,” Mr. Luthra said. He said the agreement with Aernnova provided for transfer of technology. He said Aernnova could take an equity stake of 24 per cent in a joint venture, implying an investment of about Rs.48 crore by the Spanish group. Asked what were the prospects of an aircraft flying out of the Mahindra stable, Mr. Luthra said the aerospace venture might start producing its eight-seater turboprop aircraft “within a time span of two years.” He said Gippsland had so far exported 250 aircraft from Australia, mostly for use in tourism, for humanitarian aid missions, and for adventure sports in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company is now developing a 10-seater turboprop, targeting a launch in 2014. Also under development was a five-seater, in association with the National Aeronautical Laboratory, Mr. Luthra said. It is also developing an 18-seater turboprop at its Australian facility.