Defence Industrial Corridors in TN, UP to build new capabilities: PM
The 10th DefExpo 2018 held in Chennai recently saw 702 exhibitors, including 539 Indian firms and 163 international firms.
“We are committed to build a defence industrial complex that has room for everyone – public sector, private sector, as well as foreign firms. We are committed to establishing 2 Defence Industrial Corridors – one in Tamil Nadu, and the other in Uttar Pradesh. These corridors will use the existing defence manufacturing ecosystems in these regions, and further build upon it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Chennai, on April 12, 2018. The Prime Minister released a Technology Perspective and Capability Road-map and launched the ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme. “These industrial corridors will become the engines of economic development and growth of defence industrial base in the country. We have also established a Defence Investors Cell to assist and handhold the investors involved in Defence Production,” the Prime Minster said while inaugurating the 10th edition of the Defence Expo (DefExpo) at Thiruvidanthai on the East Coast Road (ECR) near Chennai.
The Technology Perspective and Capability Road-map is to help the industry in planning and initiating technology development, partnerships and production arrangements. “The ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme is to set up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in defence area. Private venture capital into the defence sector, especially for start-ups will also be encouraged,” Modi said.
New and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and robotics are perhaps the most important determinants of defensive and offensive capabilities for any defence force in the future. India, with its leadership in Information Technology domain, would strive to use this technology tilt to its advantage, he said.
Ashok Leyland exhibits 6 new products
Ashok Leyland, flagship of the Hinduja Group, and the largest suppliers of logistics vehicles to the Indian Army, showcased 6 advanced-technology products and solutions at the DefExpo India 2018. The products showcased were: Light Specialist Vehicle 4x4; Guru 715: General Service logistics vehicle; MBPV: Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle 4x4; Super Stallion 8x8, A High Mobility Vehicle; Power pack for artillery guns (technology solution for the Indian Army); Tracked vehicles: Repower, Upgrade Solutions for tracked vehicles & FICV Mobility.
Vinod K. Dasari, MD, Ashok Leyland said, “We have been an integral part of our nation’s Defence operations and we continue to evolve as a trusted partner in providing endto-end solutions in mobility. Ashok Leyland is proud to be leading in this area for almost 3 decades and we plan to be at the forefront of designing and making in India by expanding our range of vehicle and technology solutions offering. We have developed capabilities which will help us to bid for 20-25% of the tenders of the Indian Army as against less than 1% earlier.”
Amandeep Singh, Head, Defence, Ashok Leyland said, “Our strong focus on in-house R&D and strategic partnerships with global defence suppliers has helped us develop the next generation of mobility solutions for our defence personnel and equipment. With the new generation vehicles and solutions, we are further extending the trust our army has in us. Known for robustness, endurance and latest technology, these offerings will help us expand our defence business multi-fold in the coming years. We have won 31 tenders in the last 2 years and this alone will result in cumulative revenues of over Rs 5000 crore over the next decade.”
One of the critical orders worth over Rs 100 crore from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to supply 10x10 vehicles (HMV10x10) to carry the Smerch Rockets. Singh said, “We have won 12 of the 15 tenders we participated in last year, and this is a crucial win for us. This will pave Ashok Leyland’s way for newer opportunities in providing mobility platforms for other missile carriers, missile launchers, modular bridges and other critical loads. This order is a testament of our mobility leadership in the defence sector, and we will continue to partner our forces in service of the nation.”
Tata Aerospace & Defence for holistic growth
Tata Sons is in the process of consolidating its various businesses across Aerospace and Defence sectors together under a single entity: Tata Aerospace & Defence (Tata A&D). The necessary statutory and regulatory approvals are in the process of being obtained.
N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons said in a statement, “The formation of Tata A&D, a single unified entity, will allow us to better target emerging opportunities in Aerospace and Defence, and engage holistically with customers both in India and globally.”
Tata A&D proposes to leverage its full range of expertise, experience, and capabilities from across the Group related to Land Mobility Solutions, Aerospace, Weapon systems, Sensors and Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence (C4I). Several companies proposed to be forming part of Tata A&D already have strong, established partnerships with leading aerospace and defence firms and are part of the global supply chain. In some instances, they are also a global single source provider.
Tata A&D proposes to bring together over 6,000 employees, and have production facilities in Telangana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. Banmali Agrawala, President, Infrastructure and Defence & Aerospace, Tata Sons said, “Tata A&D when formed, will be better equipped to execute larger and more complex projects and be more globally competitive as part of the global supply chain. We have moved beyond providing individual products to develop integrated offerings across land mobility, airborne platforms and systems, as well as weapons systems and C4I. In India, Tata has built an industrial base in defence intentionally designed to complement and integrate with the efforts of DRDO and Defence Public Sector Units.”
Kalyani Group JV with Plansee Tungsten
Kalyani Group and Plansee Tungsten have formed their strategic partnership in the areas of Special Metallic Penetrators required for specialist ammunition, Fragments made of heavy alloys, and Special Alloys made from Tungsten for defence, aerospace and industrial purposes. Kalyani Group will bring to this partnership its manufacturing prowess, both in terms of capability and capacity, and Plansee will contribute in terms of base material and technology.
Rajinder Singh Bhatia, Director of Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd said, “The Kalyani Group has indigenously
developed its skills and capability within Defence. We have a vision to bring world’s leading defence technologies in the country and are hence expanding our profile to enable this process. Our strategic partnership with Plansee is an extension of this vision and will give us access to some extremely niche technologies. Plansee’s state-of-the-art technology will be complemented with our world-class manufacturing and engineering capabilities”.
The Kalyani Group showcased its range of indigenous solutions and capabilities at the Defexpo 2018. The products represented its vast product portfolio spread across critical defence sectors. These indigenously developed solutions incorporate some very niche and advanced technologies. Among these were the futuristic and modern Ultra-Light Howitzers (Conventional Recoil and Advance Hybrid Recoil), indigenous Artillery Guns like Bharat 52 and Garuda 105, Armoured Troop Carrier, 120kgf Thrust Gas Turbine Engine, Dual Technology Mine Detector, Ordnance components including 155mm/52 cal Barrel and Breech Block, components made using 3D printing technology and Metal Injection Moulding, and solutions for aerospace sector.
MKU, Thales to develop optronic devices
MKU Limited, a leading defence company in India with a footprint in over 100 countries, and Thales have signed 2 MoUs for strategic co-operation in the development and production of optronic devices and F90 close quarter battle (CQB) rifle for soldiers. The optronic devices will be co-developed by Thales and MKU and both the optronic devices and F90 rifles will be manufactured in India at MKU’s facilities in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. These products will be offered to the Indian Army and homeland security forces.
Neeraj Gupta, MD of MKU said, “MKU is pleased to sign the strategic co-operation MoUs with Thales. This partnership will not only focus on meeting the requirements of our forces in India but will also look at exporting the products to other parts of the world.”
Alex Cresswell, Senior Executive Vice-President for Land and Air Systems, Thales said, “We are very pleased to work in close collaboration with MKU for the development of weapons and optronic devices to address specific needs of the Indian and international markets. This codevelopment partnership reaffirms our commitment to India and is the result of our ambition to support soldiers on operations.”
The strategic co-operation is to enhance the night fighting capabilities of the Indian Army and homeland security forces. It envisages manufacturing of optronics equipment including weapon sights, night vision goggles, handheld thermal imagers and thermal infrared sensor engine for soldier systems, and other image intensification and thermal imaging systems for soldiers and platforms respectively.
For weapons, the 2 companies plan to cooperate so that MKU could set-up an assembly and manufacturing plant in India for the carbine version of the F90 assault rifle, combat-proven and already in service with Australian Defence Forces. Light, balanced and accurate, the F90CQB (Close Quarter Battle) developed with MKU will be well suited to Indian conditions and requirements.
IIT Madras presents defence tech initiatives
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) showcased its recent initiatives for further indigenization of critical defence technologies at the DEFEXPO 2018. The Institute has taken the lead to transfer knowhow and collaborate with the Armed Forces and the defence sector to assist them in developing cutting-edge technologies.
Prof Ravindra Gettu, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras said, “We are ready and eager to work with companies in the Defence Sector and the Armed Forces to develop relevant solutions for enhancing the security of our nation.”
Several topics, including Artificial Intelligence and Impact on battle field, infrastructure technology for border areas, energy for Armed Forces, enhancing the battle field space, secure communications for the Armed Forces and spacebased surveillance, were covered in a seminar on `Technology perspectives for the Armed Forces’, IIT Madras organised with Bharat Shakti (a platform for defence industry) at the DefExpo 2018.
About 100 MS/ M Tech / PhD students of various disciplines, who are pursuing the newly-introduced course on ‘Overview of Defence Technologies’, interacted with the defence industry to complete their field projects. They had a special session with the industry and senior officers of the Armed Forces for operational orientation.
“In the weeks ahead, we will undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including both Indian and Foreign companies, about our Defence Production and Defence Procurement policy space. I call upon all of you to participate actively in this exercise. Our aim is not just to discuss, but to draw the right lessons. Our intention is not to lecture, but to listen. Our goal is not merely to tinker, but to transform,” Modi said.
Showcase of strength
“We want to showcase India as emerging hub for manufacturing as the country attained significant milestones in defence manufacturing. We also need to create opportunity for exports from India,” Ajay Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, said. DefExpo, held once every 2 years in February, used to be held in New Delhi. In 2014 it was moved by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Goa where he promised a permanent venue. This year, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman brought it to Tamil Nadu.
In DefExpo 2018, 702 exhibitors, including 539 Indian firms and 163 international firms, participated. While this was the highest-ever participation by Indian firms, there was a 10% drop in international participation, according to officials. Responding to this, Kumar said that the major international firms participated in the exhibition. Around 72% of the space was allocated for Indian exhibitors. Around 20% of the space was reserved for MSMEs.
The Indian participation included companies like Tata Sons, L&T, Kalyani, Bharat Forge, Mahindra, MKU, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), the warship building firm Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL), Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI), Ordnance Factories, and many others.
The India Pavilion in DefExpo 2018 showcased the combined strength of India’s public sector and private sector in defence production. Over 70 indigenously-built products were on displayed, under the flagship `Make in India’ programme.
The Expo also showcased India’s capabilities in land, naval, internal homeland security as well as its emergence as an attractive destination for investment in defence sector by providing a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the defence industry. The event also witnessed ‘live demonstrations’ by Indian Navy warships at sea, the Indian Army and Airforce.
Major international companies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing (USA), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany), among many others participated in the event.
A total of 47 official delegations from different countries participated in DefExpo. Around 13 of them were Ministerial level delegations from USA, UK, Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Seychelles, and Vietnam.
DRDO, MNCs ink pacts
India is ranked the world’s top arms importer and the Defence Ministry said that Indian firms manufactured Rs 550 billion of military equipment in 2017-18. During the DefExpo 2018, many agreements, starting from DRDO, Adani, L&T, BEL to multinationals from the US, Europe, Korea, were signed to transfer technologies to the Indian companies.
“At the national level, about 1,500 companies have been engaged with the ministry. So far 712 technology transfers have been made. At the state level, 35 companies have signed `Transfer of Technology’ (ToT) for supply of defence equipment,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over products it has developed to private players as part of its ToT drive. Some of these technologies/ products included ASTRA Missile; Varunastra – Heavy weight torpedo; Anti-Thermal Laser Grenade; Identification of Friend & Foe (IFF); HUMSA-UG, ABHAY Sonar etc., In the last 3 years around 200 ToTs generated revenue worth around Rs 190 crore for DRDO, officials said.
Giora Katz, Executive Vice President of Rafael Advanced Systems, said “we would like to work with our Indian partners to transfer knowledge and engage in part manufacturing and maintenance of products.” His company floated a JV with Kalyani Group and has invested in high-end technology and advanced manufacturing techniques to design, develop and manufacture weapon systems for the Indian armed forces. The other partnerships are with Astra Microwave, Bharat Forge, L&T, BEL and others in which the company will be the technology provider. Guto Bebb, MP and the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, who led a delegation to DefExpo, said that around 20 UK companies are forging partnerships and JVs with the Indian companies.
Defence & Aerospace SME fund
The setting up of a dedicated Defence & Aerospace SME fund, registered with SEBI where minority stake could be taken by investors, was announced by the Defence secretary Ajay Kumar. This fund would help channelise investments into the defence corridors in TN and UP.
During the FICCI Session on ‘Offsets: Way forward towards a win-win framework’, held at the Defexpo 2018, Kumar said that the OEMs and the Government were both dissatisfied with the earlier policy and the MoD wishes to engage in a larger dialogue with all stakeholders. The new paradigm would focus on 3 principles - investment in defence infrastructure like Government identified PSU/ quasi-PSU projects, providing higher incentives for transfer of ‘Know Why’ and targeted offset discharge. He added “Investments into testing infrastructure, training facilities and test beds would attract higher value of multiplier”.
The government has addressed the current concerns of OEMs of delays in offset discharge by putting in place a framework for ensuring ease in doing business. In addition, measures such as facilitating third-party certification based on data provided by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) subject to physical verification and statutory audits have also been taken.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Defence Minister, interacts with the key exhibitors
Amandeep Singh, Head, Defence, Ashok Leyland with the Super Stallion 8x8 at the DefExpo 2018
Wheels India displayed its wide range of wheels used in the commercial and defence vehicles