Op­por­tu­ni­ties with IAF

The lat­est edi­tion of the con­fer­ence, En­er­gis­ing In­dian Aero­space In­dus­try, in New Delhi brought to­gether the who’s who of In­dian and global mil­i­tary avi­a­tion

SP's Aviation - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By RO­HIT SRI­VAS­TAVA

In the next 15 years, the In­dian Air Force (IAF) is ex­pected to pro­cure air­craft worth over $150 bil­lion. Even in the short term, the IAF plans to spend $20 bil­lion on pur­chas­ing mil­i­tary air­craft. This of­fers mas­sive op­por­tu­nity to In­dian and global avi­a­tion in­dus­try to co­op­er­ate and find so­lu­tions to pro­mote ‘Make in In­dia’ in de­fence.

The sem­i­nar was or­gan­ised by the Cen­tre for Air Power Stud­ies along with So­ci­ety of In­dian De­fence Man­u­fac­tur­ers (SIDM), Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try and the IAF. The inau- gu­ral ses­sion was to be at­tended by Air Mar­shal S.B. Deo, VCAS, IAF. In his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, Air Mar­shal Deo traced the his­tory of fail­ure in de­vel­op­ing indige­nous com­bat air­craft from the HF-24 to LCA Te­jas. “In order to suc­ceed, we must learn from fail­ures and move ahead” he said.

Satish Kaura, Chair­man Sam­tel Group, de­liv­ered the key­note ad­dress. High­light­ing the con­tri­bu­tion of In­dian aero­space in­dus­try in main­tain­ing op­er­a­tional readi­ness of the age­ing fleet of IAF com­bat air­craft, Lt Gen Subrata Saha (Retd), Di­rec­tor

Gen­eral SIDM, said, “Ex­er­cise Ga­gan Shakti is a tes­ti­mony of the ca­pa­bil­ity of the IAF to main­tain a 50-year old com­bat fleet”.

In the next ses­sion, Air Mar­shal R. Nam­biar, DCAS, IAF dis­cussed in­di­geni­sa­tion projects in­clud­ing Mod­erni­sa­tion of Air­field In­fra­struc­ture, Air Force Net­work, In­te­grated Ma­te­rial Man­age­ment On­line Sys­tem, Air Force Cel­lu­lar, etc. “The IAF is the only non-civil­ian en­tity which has its own cel­lu­lar net­work, in­clud­ing hard­ened hand­sets,” he said. He added that the IAF had a pro­cure­ment plan worth ` 50,000 crore.

Dur­ing the ses­sion on ‘Make in In­dia’, Air Vice Mar­shal Vish­was Gaur, Tech­ni­cal Man­ager (Air) and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the in­dus­try, dis­cussed mod­erni­sa­tion in In­dian aero­space in­dus­try. Ash­wani Bhar­gava, Di­rec­tor, Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment, Boe­ing In­dia, said, “In the con­text of ‘Make in In­dia’, Boe­ing is ready to bring it on!” Af­ter a de­tailed pre­sen­ta­tion on the Ka-226T and Su-30 MKI projects, Vy­ach­eslav Ko­zlov, Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Rosoboronex­port said “HAL pro­duc­ing 222 Su-30 MKI re­flects the ca­pa­bil­ity of the In­dian aero­space in­dus­try to han­dle state-of-the-art tech­nolo­gies.”

Air Mar­shal R.K.S. Shera, Air Of­fi­cer In-Charge Main­te­nance dis­cussed the IAF’s re­quire­ments and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the field of Main­te­nance, Re­pair and Over­haul (MRO). “The IAF op­er­ates a mix of le­gacy and state-of-the-art equip­ment which present unique chal­lenges that are op­por­tu­ni­ties in dis­guise for the pri­vate sec­tor which can ben­e­fit from a wide range of MRO projects,” he said.

As the state govern­ments are at­tract­ing in­vest­ments in aero­space sec­tor, es­tab­lish­ing de­fence in­dus­trial cor­ri­dors and aero­space spe­cial eco­nomic zones, the sem­i­nar brought to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Te­lan­gana and Ut­tar Pradesh. The ses­sion high­lighted ini­tia­tives by the state govern­ments in at­tract­ing in­vest­ments in the sec­tor. In the ses­sion on ex­pec­ta­tions from the govern­ment, in­dus­try lead­ers ex­pressed their views on top­ics rang­ing from ex­ports to sup­ply chain. San­jay Jaju, Joint Sec­re­tary (DIP), ap­pre­ci­ated SIDM’s ef­fort in “Col­lat­ing in­dus­try rec­om­men­da­tions, most of which have been adopted by the Govern­ment in the re­vised poli­cies.”

Talk­ing about eas­ing of ex­port pol­icy, Ra­jesh Gupta of MKU said, “One ex­pec­ta­tion the in­dus­try has from the govern­ment is to act as a fa­cil­i­ta­tor of growth by set­ting up com­mon test­ing fa­cil­i­ties which can be ac­cessed by all”. Ankit Mehta, CEO Idea Forge, as­serted “En­cour­ag­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion of the do­mes­tic pri­vate in­dus­try makes not just strate­gic but also eco­nomic sense.” Ex­press­ing sim­i­lar view, Bharat Hark­is­han Malkani, CMD, Max Aero­space said, “There is tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for the In­dian avi­a­tion In­dus­try by way of air­craft main­te­nance, mod­i­fi­ca­tion and up­grade.” Deepak Sharma, Head - Pro­cure­ment & Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment, BAE Sys­tems In­dia, said that “For­eign OEMs should bring in tech­nol­ogy as well as in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty (IP) and in­volve the en­tire ecosys­tem which in turn, cre­ates a flat econ­omy ben­e­fit­ing all stake­hold­ers.”

The sec­ond ses­sion be­gan with ad­dress by Dr Pankaj Sharma, Joint Sec­re­tary (D&ISA), MEA where he said, “The govern­ment and the In­dian In­dus­try will be able to col­lab­o­rate to ex­ploit ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties while con­form­ing to the needs of ex­ist­ing pro­lif­er­a­tion re­stric­tions.” Anandi Venkateswaran, Un­der Sec­re­tary (D&ISA), MEA, in her sub­mis­sion on Im­pli­ca­tion of In­dia’s Mem­ber­ship of Ex­port Con­trol Regime (Wasse­naar) said, “Among other ben­e­fits, In­dia’s mem­ber­ship of Wasse­naar Ar­range­ment will al­low the In­dian In­dus­try to freely trade in dual-use tech­nolo­gies with global play­ers.”

The next ses­sion was fo­cused on the real movers of any in­dus­try, the Medium, Small, Mi­cro En­ter­prises (MSME). Dur­ing this ses­sion, the im­pact of pol­icy changes on the per­for­mance of the MSMEs was dis­cussed. Speak­ing on the sub­ject, Abhishek Jain, VP Strate­gic Part­ner­ships, Zeus Numerix, said, “I have one thing to say to the De­fence Min­istry, test us and then trust us. We have fan­tas­tic ca­pac­ity.” Sai Pat­tabi­ram, MD, Sree Sai Aerotech In­no­va­tions, added, “SMEs are nim­ble com­pa­nies and can de­velop prod­ucts much faster than any oth­ers in de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing due to low over­head costs.”

The ses­sion mod­er­a­tor, Air Vice Mar­shal P.K. Sri­vas­tava (Retd), for­merly Di­rec­tor, Bharat Dy­nam­ics, said, “Can crowd fund­ing be ex­plored as an op­tion to sup­port projects like the Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Fund which en­ables in­no­va­tion in tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment?”

In the fi­nal ses­sion, cap­tains of some of the lead­ing aero­space com­pa­nies dis­cussed the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties in set­ting up of re­search and man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity pri­mar­ily due to high cost. Dr Vivek Lall, VP, Strat­egy and Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Lock­heed Martin Aero­nau­tics talked about his com­pany’s out­look on es­tab­lish­ing re­search part­ner­ship with In­dian firms and said, “The pol­icy of Lock­heed Martin for In­dia is to de­velop tech­nol­ogy with the In­dian in­dus­try with a world­wide foot­print.” Nikhil Khanna, Manag­ing Di­rec­tor In­dia, BAE Sys­tems, asked SMES to look at the OEMs as R&D part­ners, not just as man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners. Putting across pub­lic sec­tor per­spec­tive, G.V.S. Bhasker, CEO He­li­copter Com­plex, HAL, said “There are am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties in man­u­fac­tur­ing, MRO as well as in­di­geni­sa­tion, although th­ese may not be easily ac­ces­si­ble. But, to bor­row from HAL’s le­gacy, per­sis­tence pays.”

Ac­cord­ing to Em­manuel de Ro­que­feuil, VP & Coun­try Di­rec­tor, Thales In­dia, “Joint ven­tures be­tween OEMs and the In­dian de­fence and aero­space in­dus­try are an ex­cel­lent way for both par­ties to in­crease their global foot­print.”

Wind­ing up the con­fer­ence, Lt Gen­eral Saha said, “I would like to re­as­sure the in­dus­try that ev­ery sug­ges­tion, ev­ery feed­back re­ceived is be­ing com­piled and com­mu­ni­cated to the high­est of­fices in South Block.”

“In ap­ply­ing the Wasse­naar Ar­range­ment norms, MEAs role is not that of a con­troller but rather that of a fa­cil­i­ta­tor con­duct­ing screen­ing which fur­ther strength­ens the ex­port busi­ness.” —Anandi Venkateswaran, Un­der Sec­re­tary (D&ISA), MEA

“My mes­sage to MSMEs is ‘do not look at us as a man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner alone, look at us as R&D part­ners,” —Nikhil Khanna, Manag­ing Direc­torIn­dia, BAE Sys­tems

STAL­WARTS OF AERO­SPACE COM­MU­NITY: EM­MANUEL DE RO­QUE­FEUIL, VP & COUN­TRY DI­REC­TOR, THALES IN­DIA; G.V.S. BHASKER, CEO HE­LI­COPTER COM­PLEX, HAL; DR VIVEK LALL, VP, STRAT­EGY AND BUSI­NESS DE­VEL­OP­MENT, LOCK­HEED MARTIN AERO­NAU­TICS; AIR MAR­SHAL VINOD PATNEY (RETD), FOR­MER DG, CEN­TRE FOR AIR POWER STUD­IES; NIKHIL KHANNA, MD - IN­DIA, BAE SYS­TEMS AND PRATYUSH KU­MAR, PRES­I­DENT, BOE­ING IN­DIA AND VICE PRES­I­DENT, BOE­ING IN­TER­NA­TIONAL.

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