Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, along with Desai, had recently visited Hanover in Germany to woo foreign investors.
"Some major foreign companies have approached us and are eager to invest in the defence sector. They have the technology and we have the resources. These companies are expected to visit Maharashtra in coming days and we have even thought about the sites we will offer them," Desai said, refusing to name the companies.
To start with, he said, joint ventures (JVs) will be formed with prominent Indian engineering companies.
"There is possibility that these companies may manufacture parts of combat aircraft and parts of submarine or warships in Maharashtra," he said.
The state has the option of providing land at Ozar in Nashik district, Amravati and Aurangabad for these JVs.
"The manufacturing companies will need the facility of an airport strip which is available at these places and the MIDC, too, has a huge land bank of 48,000 acres," Desai said.
Meanwhile, the recent decision of the Centre to exempt industries requiring over 20,000 metres land from getting a clearance of the Environment Department has given the manufacturing sector in the state a leg-up.
"The Union government has removed the mandatory clearance for industries that require more than 20,000 metres of land," the minister said.
"Mercedes is the first beneficiary of this new rule and its production has started recently at Chakan."
The Industries Department has decreased the number of licences required to start business to 25 from 75 and it will be formally announced on June 24, Desai added.