R&D, indi­geni­sa­tion to drive De­fence, Aerospace in­dus­try sec­tors

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Anusha B

In the De­fence and Aerospace sec­tors there have been a lot of re­forms in the re­cent past and the Gov­ern­ment is ac­tively re­view­ing the poli­cies set for these in­dus­tries. The con­fer­ence on Aerospace and De­fence Man­u­fac­tur­ing Tech­nolo­gies or­gan­ised by the Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try (CII) in Chen­nai with the theme ‘Make in In­dia— Fast De­vel­op­ing Ecosys­tem for Aerospace and De­fence In­dus­try’ called for an ac­tive in­volve­ment of In­dian and for­eign com­pa­nies in the creation of an ecosys­tem that could go a long way to es­tab­lish a solid base for the na­tion’s de­fence and eco­nomic sys­tems that needed sus­tained ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Jayakar Kr­ish­na­murthy, Con­fer­ence Chair­man, and Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, UCAL, said that Aerospace and De­fence needed 4 ma­jor things for growth: A vast land mass, abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources, sus­tain­able pop­u­la­tion, and dis­tri­bu­tion of eq­ui­table eco­nomic growth. In­dia spends only $ 56 bil­lion on De­fence de­spite its large area and pop­u­la­tion den­sity. In R&D in­vest­ment, Is­rael tops the list with 4.3%. In­dia is the low­est at 0.9%. “It is im­pos­si­ble for In­dia to keep on im­port­ing De­fence equip­ments with­out mak­ing R&D in­vest­ments which were nec­es­sary for sus­tain­able

eco­nomic and De­fence in­dus­try growth,” he said.

In­dia has to develop an ecosys­tem sim­i­lar to the suc­cess­ful au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try model which com­prises Tier 1,Tier 2, Tier 3 and R&D. Kr­ish­na­murthy called for a proper pol­icy for `De­sign & Make in In­dia’, which would be the right way for­ward.

B Elan­go­van, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Tidel Park Lim­ited said, “The aerospace in­dus­try is emerg­ing in In­dia and it is fu­elled by the re­cent or­der for 700 air­craft by the In­dian op­er­a­tors. Aerospace has tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments and huge busi­ness vol­ume but we need pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory sup­port from the gov­ern­ment. In line with the busi­ness vol­umes the Chen­nai Aerospace Park is set up in Sripe­rum­budur. We give open space for MRO and fa­cil­i­ties are pro­vided for 3D print­ing, visual stu­dio, pro­to­type, and skill train­ing. Con­struc­tion of multi-floor plug and play fa­cil­ity will also be taken up shortly. Seventy en­gi­neer­ing col­leges in Tamil Nadu have aerospace cour­ses and we ex­pect 40% hu­man re­source pop­u­la­tion would be from the State.”

Dr A Ve­layud­ham, Sci­en­tist, Com­bat Ve­hi­cle Re­search & De­vel­op­ment Es­tab­lish­ment, DRDO, Min­istry of De­fence said, “Ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing is the evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy in the aerospace in­dus­try. With 3D print­ing, the num­ber of parts will be re­duced from 14 to 1, the process steps from 18 to 5 and the man­u­fac­tur­ing cost by 50%. The ad­van­tages in­clude de­sign free­dom, sim­pli­fied and in­te­grated as­sem­blies, ge­og­ra­phy in­de­pen­dent, and re­duc­tion in prod­uct de­vel­op­ment cost. There are chal­lenges with the process pa­ram­e­ters, pow­der spec­i­fi­ca­tion and val­i­da­tion of the process. Re­search in these tech­nolo­gies and Make in and for In­dia, De­sign in and for In­dia will surely take In­dia to the next level in de­fence and aerospace in­dus­try.”

Anil Ku­mar, Gen­eral Man­ager, Engine Fac­tory-Avadi, Min­istry of De­fence, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia said, “Huge im­ports take place in Army, Navy and Air­force, of­fer­ing big scope for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in the aerospace in­dus­try. Alu­minium cast­ings are re­quired for en­gines for the ar­moured ve­hi­cles. Indi­geni­sa­tion is needed in a big way here. We have to syn­er­gise the strength and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in R&D, and re­sources are very much avail­able in In­dia.”

He fur­ther said indi­geni­sa­tion in a ser­vice de­pends on its own pri­or­ity, com­mit­ted man power, fi­nan­cial em­pow­er­ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and abil­ity to catal­yse the in­dus­try to de­sign or man­u­fac­ture as per the re­quire­ment. Indi­geni­sa­tion in Navy is far higher than in army and Air­force de­spite the lower num­ber of equip­ment.

Vice-Ad­mi­ral, B Kan­nan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and CEO, L&T ship­build­ing Lim­ited said, “For most of the de­fence projects, tech­nol­ogy in­fu­sion is needed from in­dige­nous or for­eign sources. In­cor­po­ra­tion of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies for en­hanced pro­duc­tiv­ity is needed which fa­cil­i­tates ef­fi­cient in­te­gra­tion of col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts. The in­dus­tries would in­vest on in­fra­struc­ture and R&D if level play­ing field and speedy de­ci­sion-mak­ing are as­sured.”

Tal Ca­tran, Mar­ket­ing and Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Ex­pert Con­sul­tant, MHT Is­rael Aerospace In­dus­tries Ltd, Is­rael said, “Is­rael is con­sid­ered as the num­ber one in de­fence in­dus­try. We are a 69 year old coun­try with 8.3 mil­lion peo­ple. We en­cour­age young tal­ents and start-ups and we are the 43rd largest econ­omy in the world. We are termed as a start-up Na­tion across the world. Though we are small in area and less in pop­u­la­tion we have good R&D strength and 80% of our pro­duc­tion goes to ex­port mar­kets. We have 15000 em­ploy­ees and within that we have 6000 engi­neers.”

Ca­tran added that In­dia has a grow­ing avi­a­tion mar­ket along with the US, the UK, In­done­sia and China. Ac­cord­ing to IATA fore­cast, by 2025 In­dia will re­place the UK and be­come the 3rd big­gest avi­a­tion mar­ket in the world. In­dia has a huge po­ten­tial but it needs to fo­cus on R&D and even the joint ven­ture will help the coun­try ex­cel in this arena. “We are ready to have a tie-up but we need to get the call for it,” he said.

R Asokan, Pro­fes­sor and Head, Cen­tre for De­fence Tech­nol­ogy Stud­ies, Hin­dus­tan Uni­ver­sity said, “The De­fence Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre at Hin­dus­tan Uni­ver­sity was es­tab­lished in 2012 to gen­er­ate cred­i­ble and ef­fec­tive hu­man re­source base and cre­ate a team of pro­fes­sion­als.

We pro­vide con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for bud­ding pro­fes­sion­als to achieve ex­cel­lence in the field of De­fence tech­nol­ogy and man­age­ment.”

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