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Indian Private Sector Defense Companies

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Aug 28, 2016
While we are seeing these developments, trying to manufacture fighter jets even jet engines,missiles.....why DRDO has failed to deliver a standard assault rifle. Excalibur is not good enough as per media and MCIWS far away, where is the problem? Is it DRDO's incompetence or standards set by army is too high?


Jun 24, 2016
United States
Tata Power, Javelin JV to develop, produce anti-armour missile system

Tata Power has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with US-based Javelin Joint Venture for its Strategic Engineering Division (SED) to explore development and production of anti-armour missile system.

The Javelin Joint Venture is a partnership between Raytheon Company and Lockheed Martin. The LOI establishes a framework for future technological cooperation among the three leading companies of the globe.

As part of the LOI, Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) and Tata Power's Strategic Engineering Division will create a strategy to co-develop and produce the Javelin missile system and integrate platform mounts to meet India's defence requirements. As per the plan, even ground combat vehicle, dismounted infantry and rotorcraft applications will be manufactured jointly.

This move comes at a time when the government is working towards having private participation in the defence sector and Make in India initiative.

"This agreement brings together three world leaders in aerospace and defence technology to extend Javelin to new customers, new applications and new platforms. With this deal, we are also reinforcing our continued support of the 'Make in India' initiative," said John Halvey, Javelin Joint Venture president at Raytheon Missile Systems.

Rahul Chaudhry, chief executive officer at Tata Power SED shared, "Now, our partnership with the Javelin Joint Venture will bring the world's best technology to our soldiers enabling battlefield supremacy. Indian industry will benefit immensely from the depth and range of this planned technology transfer and co-development."

On Wednesday, Tata Power's stock touched a 71-week high at Rs 78.65; the previous high was on April 23, 2015, when it's share price was at Rs 79. The stocks opened at Rs 77.05, fell to a low of Rs 76.55, but later touch 16-month high to end at Rs 78.25 per share.


'SMEs can participate in defence through HAL & DRDO'

Articulating that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should progress with defence indigenisation programme with increased Research & Development (R&D) having innovative approach as it would only ensure and enhanced their participation with armed forces through defence undertakings such as HAL and DRDO, said Air Marshal P P Khandekar, AO-in-C (Maintenance), IAF on Tuesday.

Addressing a Seminar on "MSME Role in Indigenisation of IAF Requirements - Combating Challenges and Creating Capabilities with MSMEs" under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on Tuesday, Khandekar said that currently MSMEs participation with armed forces was possible through the two entities and therefore, these should take advantages of the two windows with quality of manufacturing utmost in their mind.

Khandekar was addressing the Seminar which was organized as a Curtain Raiser to publicize a workshop on MSMEs role in Indigenisation of IAF requirements to be held at Lucknow on 14th of next month under the joint aegis of HAL, DRDO and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Seminar is likely to discuss and understand in detail the capabilities MSMEs posses and sensitize the local industry with the Indian Air Force requirement for future collaborations. There will also be display of equipment by BRD units of Indian Air Force.

The stakeholders that are likely to attend the forthcoming seminar consists of Senior Indian Air Force officers, representatives from DPSUs, state government officials, defence think tanks, local SMEs and captains from the Indian industry including leading Indiana and International organizations.

In the Curtain Raiser event of the Chamber here today among those that were also present included the Vice President, PHD Chamber, Anil Khaitan; Co-Chairman, Defence Committee, PHD Chamber, Maj R S Bedi (Retd.) and its Secretary General, Saurabh Sanyal.

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Aug 3, 2016
Right time for Swedish companies to partner with India's defence industry: Govt

India-Sweden Defence & Aerospace Industry Seminar organised by Ficci, SOFF & Embassy Of Sweden in New Delhi on August 31, 2016. Image Source: Twitter Handle of Sweden in India

Export of defence equipment nearly Rs 3,000 crore over last 3 years
PM Modi-led Cabinet approves 'radical' changes in FDI policy; permits 100% foreign investment in defence
Reliance Defence bags 16 industrial licences for missiles, equipment

It is the right time for the Swedish companies to partner with firms from India's defence manufacturing industry, said a joint secretary from the Ministry of Defence in a recent seminar conducted by Ficci.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) in collaboration with SOFF and Swedish embassy, organised the India-Sweden Defence & Aerospace Industry seminar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

In a bid to deepen Indo-Swedish defence and aerospace cooperation, the Government of India has urged Swedish companies to forge large scale partnerships with Indian manufacturers and reap the ‘early bird’ advantages from the amended defence procurement rules, Ficci said in its press release.

The Ministry of Defence had released the revised Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) document on March 28 this year and it came into effect on April 1.

While addressing the Ficci seminar, Ministry of Defence joint secretary (DIP) Sanjay Garg, said in a release, "The policy focus was not just on pure manufacturing. The Government of India, on its part, in the last two years has approved 85% of the capital acquisition proposals under the new category called Buy Indian - Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) and Buy and Make In India."

The time was ripe for Swedish companies to find the right partner from the Indian defence manufacturing industry, he further said.

Spokeperson from Sweden's Embassy stated that both countries have a strong industry base and India has now become an attractive place for investors.

“We have the expertise and know-how in the defence and aerospace sector to support your success,” said Embassy of Sweden's Charge’ d’Affaires Josa Karre in a statement.

Echoing similar views, spokesperson from Sweden's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that there was tremendous scope for collaboration between Swedish and Indian companies in aviation, maritime security and combat training and simulation for army personnel.

"Swedish companies are here for a long haul and this was possible because of the trust and reliability that they enjoy,” said Sweden's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Anders Bengtcen in a statement.

"...the policy framework had been streamlined and was extremely supportive of building strong partnerships between Swedish and Indian companies," said in collective view by Ficci's Chairman of Defence and Aerospace Committee Jayant D Patil, Chairman of Ficci Taskforce on Aerospace Sudhakar Gande and Secretary General of Ficci Dr A Didar Singh in a statement.



Dec 7, 2008
Zen Technologies’ 1,000% stock rally fades as India’s defence overhaul sputters

Contractors such as Zen Technologies are in the red as PM Narendra Modi’s plan to spend $150 billion to spur local defence production remains a non-starter

Narendra Modi’s modernization drive has met with mixed success. Among the few signed orders are deals for Boeing Co. naval patrol aircraft and military helicopters, as well as for a clutch of warships to be built domestically. Photo: HT

New Delhi: A fizzling boom in the shares of Zen Technologies Ltd, a designer of military simulators, shows how expectations of a rapid improvement in the nation’s armed forces are ebbing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined a plan of spending $150 billion to modernize the military and spur local defence production after taking office two years ago, stoking a surge in contractors such as Zen Technologies. The stock has fallen in 2016 as the pace of orders fell short of the expectations of the company and investors, according to managing director Ashok Atluri.

“We can’t blame the government, but our expectations weren’t realized,” Atluri said in an interview. “We were communicating to shareholders that we expect the orders to come through by this time, and that didn’t happen.”

Modi’s modernization drive has met with mixed success. Among the few signed orders are deals for Boeing Co. naval patrol aircraft and military helicopters, as well as for a clutch of warships to be built domestically.
But a scaled-back purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation SA to bolster India’s ageing squadrons has stalled over price.

Zen Technologies climbed 1,172% from when Modi took office in May 2014 to a record in January this year, but has since dropped about 37%.

An index of four defence-related companies, including the simulator maker as well as BEML Ltd, Bharat Electronics Ltd and Astra Microwave Products Ltd, is down about 12% in 2016, compared with the S&P BSE 500 index’s 105 rise.

Atluri said he’s seeking $120 million of domestic revenue in the next three years and double that from exports.

The company, based in Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Telangana, has an order book of Rs.100 crore and is in talks with at least four other countries for exports, according to Atluri. Zen Technologies reported a loss for the past four quarters, according to data compiled byBloomberg.

A new Indian defence procurement policy implemented in April that seeks to encourage local design and production should help speed up purchases, Atluri said.

“There has been a little delay,” he said. “We’re confident the orders will come.”

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Aug 3, 2016
Tata Power SED Emerges as Lowest Bidder To Build Sonar Systems

NEW DELHI — Private defense company Tata Power's Strategic Engineering Division (SED) has emerged as the lowest bidder to build 78 portable diver detection sonar (PDDS) systems.

Tata Power SED, whose parent company is Tata Group, quoted $20 million for the Buy and Make (India) category tender, against its rivals Elcome Integrated Systems at $26 million and Larsen & Toubro at $30 million.

This will be for the first time an Indian defense company will build PDDS systems for the Indian Navy. The service was previously sourcing the technology from Sonardyne in the United Kingdom.

A senior Indian Navy official confirmed that no domestic defense company has yet built PDDS systems, and that any domestic companies that do so will likely have to team up with foreign defense companies.

"A formal contact will be awarded to Tata Power SED within the next two months," he added.

In a 2014 tender for PDDS systems, Tata Power SED and Elcome Integrated Systems teamed up with DSIT of Israel, while Larsen & Toubro partnered with Atlas Elektronik of Germany. Indian state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited, which teamed with Thales of France, was technically disqualified.

"We want domestic companies to build more than 50 percent indigenous components in the PDDS program," said a senior Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Indian Navy wants homemade PDDS systems that are capable of operating in shallow, or littoral, waters and can detect divers, underwater saboteurs and commando mini-submarines or midget subs. The PDDS systems would need to be capable of automatic detection and classification of detected, waterborne contacts in 36 degrees azimuth.

The PDDS systems will allow a diver to navigate underwater to map targets in real time. Additionally, the tech will gather data from targets and then provide information that will allow a diver to map topography.

However, the MoD is not very happy with the status of another Buy & Make (India) procurement of surface surveillance radar (SSR) systems, of which private defense company Nova Integrated Systems, a subsidiary of Tata Group, emerged as lowest bidder in February.

The senior MoD official said Nova Integrated Systems quoted a low price of $30 million to win the contract to build 31 SSR systems but is refusing to sign the contract on the grounds that the project is not economically viable for the company.


Indian Navy forum looks to 'Make in India' with MSME participation
Rachel Chitra, TNN | Aug 27, 2016, 09.17PM IST

CHENNAI: Indian Navy Forum, in association with ASSOCHAM and SICCI, said that they aimed to come up with the first Indian Aerospace and Defence manufacturing cluster with the help of the government of Tamil Nadu in Sriperumbudur in line with "Make in India."

Trying to optimise the defence forces reliance on Indian MSMEs, the new cluster could be the next growth engine in the state, said K Balasubramanian, chairman, SICCI MSME Committee.

"The establishment of an Aerospace and Defence Park in Tamil Nadu would result in the generation of more than 10 lakh jobs and would stand to attract investments of more than Rs 60,000 crore and bring in Rs 20,000 crore of tax revenue to the state's coffers, over a ten year period. Our vision is to create the first Indian Aerospace and Defense Park under the new DPP," said Vinod Surana, co-chairman, ASSOCHAM Southern Region.

"The role of MSMEs in making Indian defence self-reliant is crucial and there is great potential if we can build a strong MSME ecosystem. Currently we are importing many parts for floats, hulls, and sensory aids - it would be great if we can originate and service turbine engines, alternators, auxiliary mechanical systems, fire fighting systems," said Indian Navy Vice - Admiral (Retd) B Kannan. Kannan, who is also the chairman of ASSOCHAM Defence Manufacturing Committee, said that Tamil Nadu's industrial strength needs to be harnessed for the aid of the defense forces.

"As many as six major projects at a cost of Rs 2.50 lakh crore can be indigenized for equipment and systems for the hull, propulsion and Defense weaponary and sensors. TN has the capability for undertaking defence production, and MSMEs need to step forward to engage with the Indian Navy," said Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Materiel, Integrated Headquarters (Navy), New Delhi, while deliver the key note address.


L&T's shipbuilding arm ties up with US firms for design, equipment supply

Larsen & Toubro is looking at joining hands with US majors for designing and equipment suppliers to design and build future shipbuilding contracts. The vessels will be built at a facility near Chennai. Speaking at the Indo-US Partnership Conclave 'The march towards $500 billion trade', organised by IACC along with the state ofTamil Nadu, B Kannan, CEO & MD, L&T Shipbuilding said the company is in touch with some US-based firms, for its future projects.

  • For ship design it has tied up with Alion, for ship equipments the company will procure Low Frequency Sonar from Harris Group, hull mounted sonar from Raytheon, AUVs from Bluefin Robotics Corporation, data acquistion system from Seabotix Inc, data acquistion from Teledyne and aircraft elevators for ships from Pan Marine.

The ship building facility of L&T is located at Kattupalli, around 40 km from Chennai.

The company is currently engaged in two major defence programmes. It is supplying 54 interceptor boats for the Indian Coast Guard, of which 20 have already been delivered and rest is expected to be supplied in a year's time.

It is building offshore patrol vessels to the Indian Coast Guard. A floating deck for Indian Navy, to be positioned near Andaman Nicobar Islands is also under development and will be delivered next year, he said.

Besides, it is also designing a landing platform dock to carry helicopters, whoch would be helpful for rescue and emergency operations. The company is expecting to bag a contract from the Indian Navy on this, he added.

The company has an order book of close to Rs 2,000 crore, he said.


Aug 3, 2016
Russia helping to kick start India’s military industrial complex

Having helped lay the foundations of modern India’s State-owned defence industry in the 1960s, Russian weapon manufacturers are entering into fruitful partnerships with India’s blue chip private sector companies.

BrahMos Aerospace persuaded a number of private Indian companies to become subcontractors. Source:EPA

When Russia offered full transfer of technology and rights for local assembly of the MiG-21 interceptor in India in 1966, it was the first such deal between a developed country and a developing one. With Moscow supplying the jet’s entire production facility, the MiG-21 formed the nucleus of India’s military industrial complex. From its factories in Koraput and Kanpur, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd built 657 of these hardy jet fighters over the next 40 years.

Licensed production of weapons was the monopoly of government owned companies like HAL. And like all monopolies, HAL often messed up. Some of the blame must go to the defence brass and politicians who connived to scuttle indigenous weapons in order to take kickbacks from foreign manufacturers. But HAL isn’t blameless – it would often give unrealistic deadlines or lower cost estimates and, with exceptions, inevitably fail to deliver a world class weapon.

India’s defence manufacturing landscape is, however, changing with the private sector stepping in. Private sector companies were initially reluctant to work for the government because there was no guarantee the weapons they were subcontracting for would be purchased by the armed forces. In most cases they were right as India’s defence industry has a history of cancelled weapons. The private sector was therefore reluctant to invest in defence.

India interested in Russian security system

Godrej bets on BrahMos
The game changer was BrahMos Aerospace– the Indo-Russian missile joint venture – which persuaded a number of private Indian companies to become subcontractors. Among the first off the blocks was Godrej Aerospace, a subsidiary of the 199 year old Godrej conglomerate. It became a key contractor, manufacturing airframes for the supersonic BrahMos missile.

The Mumbai-based company’s association with the missile project started with the signing of a MoU between BrahMos, Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Godrej in August 2000.

Initially, in January 2001, Godrej was awarded an order that included the supply of the airframe section plus wings, fins, nose‐caps and nose‐cap motors. Making these complex, precision components robust enough to function at supersonic speeds required Godrej to understand 1200 Russian drawings, 2500 Russian manufacturing standards, 25 various types of metallurgies and acquire 25 specialised technologies provided by Russian missile maker NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

Under the programme, Godrej Aerospace has designed and developed 5000 process sheets for various manufacturing processes, inspection and quality assurance. More than 2000 tools, jigs and fixtures were developed and qualified for the final desired output.

According to A. Sivathanu Pillai, former CEO BrahMos Aerospace, “Godrej’s investment in exclusive facilities for BrahMos has made it a partner of choice. This has given us the confidence to deepen our relationship with Godrej by awarding them with additional orders for BrahMos missile airframe assemblies as well as by increasing their scope of work for BrahMos.”

Rockets and Reliance
India cleared the purchase of the S-400 air defence missile for $4.5 billion in December 2015. A week later, Reliance Defence signed an agreementwith Russia’s AlmazAntey, manufacturer of the S-400, to jointly develop and maintain a variety of weapons for India’s military. TOR-1M missiles, radars and automated control systems come under the scope of the deal.

Russian, Indian companies to co-produce coastal defence systems

Interestingly, Reliance Defence is a complete newcomer with zero experience in the defence industry. Despite this, the Anil Ambani-owned company has received approval for 12 industrial licences for manufacturing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, all-terrain combat vehicles, night-vision devices, sensors, navigation and surveillance equipment, propulsion systems and simulators.

In this backdrop, the deal with Almaz-Antey looks like Reliance’s attempt to forge close ties with Russia to jumpstart its ambitions to develop a defence business from scratch. The company also plans to bid for contracts for local manufacture of helicopters, submarines and ships.

Shipping news
High octane defence deals are often the most exciting part of India-Russia summits. Not surprisingly, global attention was focussed on the S-400 missile defence system and the PAK-FA stealth fighter when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Moscow in December. However, if India ever goes to war, the first strikes may be launched from the Krivak III (Talwar) class stealth frigates.

The Russian military establishment has chosen Anil Ambani’s Pipavav Shipyard to build three to four Talwar-class frigates (Project 11345) for the Indian Navy. The shipyard has received an official letter confirming the partnership from Alexander Fomin, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC). The order could be worth in excess of $3 billion, making it the Indian private sector's biggest-ever warship-building project.

India has already bought six Russian-built Talwar class frigates, the last of which was delivered in 2013.

“We are ready to transfer technology to ensure the construction of these ships in India. The new ships that will be built will be different and more modern than the Talwar class that have been delivered," says Alexi Dikiy, director for military technical cooperation at USC.

India to modernize Soviet air defence system by itself

More importantly, we are witnessing the fusion of made in India warships and made in India missiles. Defense Industry Daily (DID) says the latest Talwar frigates are fitted for eight supersonic BrahMos anti-ship missiles. They will be also equipped with a Russian 100mm gun, a Shtil air defence system (upgraded SA-N-7), 2 Kashtan SA-N-11 air defence gun/missile systems, four 533mm torpedo tubes, and a Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

The Talwar class frigates will play a key role in India’s Maritime Strategy 2015 that aims to dominate the blue waters and strike on land. For decades India has wanted to dominate the Indian Ocean but lacked the capability. The new strategy – backed by a 200-ship fleet – is to project sea power not just into the Indian Ocean but the Pacific as well.

Future outlook
As India’s turbocharged economy grows, its military is being upsized to keep in step. With the country’s political leadership having shed its decades long – and short sighted – Gandhian policy of treating weapons with a mixture of contempt and shame, India is no longer shy of manufacturing and exporting high-octane defence hardware. These are exciting times for India’s private sector defence companies and Russia has got off to a strong start by finding well-connected partners for joint ventures.


L&T Defence & Aerospace sources 50% parts from SMEs

In an interaction with DH, Senior Vice President and Head of L&T Defence & Aerospace Jayant D Patil said that the company is focussing on areas including warships, submarines, communications, engineering equipment, artillery and missile systems.

“Currently, we have 1,100 SME partners for our eight defence manufacturing plants spread across the country. But L&T treats about 70-80 of them as partners with placement of repeat orders. These companies have continuous work from us,” Patil said.

He pointed out that no PSU can match with L&T in this aspect of ecosystem creation, as it is sourcing 50% of components from SMEs.

Patil also added that the company is committed to, and is focussing on indigenisation, having begun as partner to DRDO three decades ago to design and develop indigenous technologies and products.

Design centres

“Today, we have five R&D centres, also called design centres, across the country. Our Bengaluru centre, where we have 200 employees, handles product development, including embedded systems software for avionics and military communication segments,” he said.

L&T Defence and Aerospace is looking at acquisition and JVs very carefully. “As we believe in indigenisation of products and systems, our approach to merger and acquisition is selective, and so is global collaboration. We have attained 60-90% indigenisation,” he said.

“It is better that we design products� as they create high value with indigenous technology to support the armed forces through product life cycle. Also, we can save on cost because we know how to make changes, undertake upgrades and develop next generation products,” he said.

On the export front, he said that the company is doing business of Rs 150 crore a year, and this is confined to five countries. “We expect that it will increase at least three to four-times in the next five years,” Patil said.

The company is also eyeing to secure at least Rs 50,000 crore worth of orders over� three years in defence across the areas of focus.

India has become the world’s fourth largest spender on defence, following an increase of 13.1% in its 2016-17 overall defence budget, according to research firm IHS.

- See more at: http://m.deccanherald.com/articles....erospace-sources-50.html#sthash.iYaOGvBn.dpuf

Reliance Defence speeds up Rs 2,500-crore patrol vessel project

Assurances have also been given that the delivery period for the vessels will be crunched and all five would be ready for induction by the end of 2017.

NEW DELHI: Reliance Defence is accelerating work on an inherited order for naval offshore patrol vessels (NOPVs) and has assured the Indian Navy of supplying all the five craft by the end of 2017, bringing clarity to the largest warship building project awarded to the private sector.

The Rs 2,500-crore NOPV project was awarded by the Navy in 2011 but ran aground after Pipavav DefenceBSE 0.47 % and Offshore Engineering went under debt and broke off with a Russian design partner for the small combatant vessels. The first of the NOPVs were to be delivered in early 2015 but work almost stopped in 2014 as the yard faced financial and technical constraints.

Now acquired by Reliance Defence - the first major purchase by the Anil Ambani group - the yard is being spruced up and work has accelerated on the NOPVs. A senior Indian Navy team that visited the yard last month was assured that the first of the new vessels - with a displacement of 2000 tons - would be delivered next year.

Assurances have also been given that the delivery period for the vessels will be crunched and all five would be ready for induction by the end of 2017. "The new management is working on an aggressive delivery schedule, revamping the work breakdown structure for the second batch of three NOPVs. The period between keel-laying to delivery for the second batch of the NOPVs will be cut down to half," said Admiral HS Malhi (retd), CEO of the shipyard.

Work accelerated early this year with construction being carried out in two batches of two and three vessels. The plan is to construct the last three vessels within an 18-month period, against the 36-month norm for vessels of this size. Reliance executives said more than 2000 workers are working on a threeshift schedule to meet the new deadlines for delivery.

"Over the past 12 months, we have been working on strategic partnership agreements with a number of leading global OEMs across a wide spectrum of military equipment and hardware and are today well-poised for a major role in delivering on the government's Make in India procurement programs," Anil Ambani said.

The NOPV is designed for offshore patrolling, surveillance, escort and fleet support duties and is the largest combat vessel being constructed at a private yard. All major orders in the past - for frigates and destroyers - have gone to government-owned yards like GRSE, MDL and CSL.

While the NOPV order was initially bagged in 2011, the yard was acquired by Reliance Infrastructure in March 2015 after it went into heavy debt. Reliance Infra now owns almost 35 percent of the company and has assumed control. Pipavav Defence has also been renamed as Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd. (RDEL).

Aug 3, 2016
Bigger role for industry in defence sector

The Hindu
A Tejas aircraft during its induction in July. The government wants a greater impetus to the Make in India initiative in defence manufacturing. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

A new concept of “strategic partners” has been proposed.
In the next two months, the Defence Ministry is expected to finalise key long-pending measures aimed at providing Indian industry a level-playing field in the defence manufacturing sector and give impetus to the Make in India initiative.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently said during industry interactions that the crucial chapter on strategic partnerships as well as revision of the Defence Procurement Manual (DPM) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) procurement manual are expected to be finalised in the next two months.

“Strategic partnership is a chapter where radical transformation is proposed. We are close to it. Probably September should be a reasonable time for it to come,” Mr. Parrikar had said.

A new concept of “strategic partners” has been proposed under the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016, which came into effect in April, to be incorporated as a separate chapter to promote indigenisation in key military platforms as part of the Make in India initiative.

The Defence Ministry had earlier appointed two committees headed by former Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh and former DRDO Chief V.K. Atre, who had proposed a methodology for selecting the strategic partner. But there was opposition from the industry to some of the proposals. Observing that there were certain crucial differences in viewpoints, Mr. Parrikar said this issue required a step-by-step approach in order to drastically change the system and added that “it has to be laid out in the chapter itself.”

Role of MSMEs
While the “strategic partners” are meant for big corporates, efforts are on to provide a level playing field to the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) which hold significant technology but do not have the means to compete in this deeply regulated sector.

Mr. Parrikar noted that for the new DPP to make impact, under which new proposals would probably start flowing in the next 2-3 months, there was also a need to amend the DPM which was last amended in 2009. “Immediately after the DPM, within 30-60 days, was the OFB procurement policy which was almost ready. The MSMEs are major suppliers to the OFB and Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the revision of the DPM and the OFB procurement policy was expected to address most of the issues that industry faced.

Boosting exports
With particular focus on increasing defence exports, the Ministry has granted “specific permission” to the OFB and the DPSUs to export 10 per cent of all items without specific approval. “If they manage to do that they can revamp their production next year so the armed forces are not deprived of their quantity,” Mr. Parrikar stated.

The Ministry is also in the process of creating a platform for promoting Indian defence products abroad through our missions and Defence Attaches. Based on the initial experience in pushing up exports, a detailed export policy would be formulated next year.


Isro plans to launch first privately built satellite by March

  • India’s space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), plans to launch a navigation satellitethat it would build jointly with a private firm, by March next year, beginning a process to outsource satellitemanufacturing and free its resources to focus on research and deep space missions.

Isro has received over 40 responses to a tender floated to invite private firms to jointly build a satellite and eventually transfer satellite-making technology for local and global needs.
The space agency plans to hand-hold vendors to jointly build, test and certify two navigation satellites that it would launch to join the fleet of seven Navic satellites already in space.

India, based on current needs, requires to launch asatellite every month over the next five to seven years to meet growing needs of local customers for direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast, mapping applications for urban and disaster planning, and communication services.

At the same time, Isro is also sensing an opportunity to replicate India’s success in IT outsourcing in building satellites for global firms and launching them from Indian soil. There is a global surge in new satellite companies such as One Web, Google-owned Terra Bella, Planet Labs — which was founded by three former NASA scientists, Chris Boshuizen, Will Marshall, and Robbie Schingler — Spire Global, Space X, and Millennium Space Systems, who collectively plan to launch over 2,500 new satellites over the next few years.

Bulk of them are small and mini satellites for areas such as remote sensing and navigation, disaster management, intelligence gathering and providing high-speed internet services.

In June, Isro had invited over 100 firms, majority of them component and systems suppliers such as Godrej Aerospace, Tata Advanced Material Systems, Hindustan Aeronautics, and Bengaluru-based Avasarala Technologies to showcase satellite-making opportunity to meet both local and global needs.

“We will identify a few stakeholders, develop them and give them certification. The sheer quantity (of satellites required) itself dictates we have to sustain them (partnership with vendors),” M Annadurai, director of Isro satellite centre, said.

Research and Markets estimated in May that the global opportunity for small and mini satellites would grow nearly one and half times to $5.32 billion by 2021. In 2016, the market was estimated to be worth $ 2.22 billion.

For Isro, a few firms based in Silicon Valley such as Planet Labs, Terra Labs and Spire Global are customers of Isro, using the PSLV rocket to hurl satellites into space. Now, Isro is looking to expand the relationship with them and other firms to make satellites locally in India.

“Our target is to realise this satellite before March, that means before October we should be ready to identify who will be the first set of vendors,” Annadurai said. “We are planning to develop vendors who can possibly take over the first satellite with hand holding from Isro.”

Isro is also stitching an industry consortium that it expects to build and launch the Polar SatelliteLaunch Vehicle (PSLV) by 2020, while it focuses on developing newer rockets to bring down the cost of transport to space.


Private sector must play a larger role in defence manufacturing: Hindustan Aeronautics’ T. Suvarna Raju

T. Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) handed over the first two indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas to the Indian Air Force in July.

With the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government allowing up to 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector—49% FDI participation under the automatic route and beyond 49% through government approval—HAL, a Bangalore-based aerospace and defence firm, is looking at more private sector participation to boost defence manufacturing in India. The NDA government has placed defence orders worthRs.2 trillion to encourage domestic manufacturing and foreign investments.

In an interview with InfraCircle, T. Suvarna Raju, chairman and managing director of HAL, spoke about the opportunity for the Indian industry in defence production, role of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and its light utility helicopters becoming operational shortly. Edited excerpts.

Now that India allows up to 100% FDI in defence, what are your expectations?

It is supposed to bring in a great change. Stakeholders can bring in (advanced) technologies and that will further fuel growth in defence production.

Do you have plans to work with private entities in India?

Yes, we want a third (assembly) line to be run by the private sector. In fact we want the private players to come in now and produce LCA or light combat helicopter (LCH) as we don’t want to make more investments into this space. As of now, our LCA project is doing well and the government has already placed orders for 100 LCA. We have also started a series of productions.

What role do you see for Indian manufacturers and suppliers in defence production, in the light of Make in India initiative?

We want to increase our production to 16 LCA a year. In the past, HAL would have added a third (assembly) line to create a capacity of 24 planes a year. But we don’t want to do it now; we want the industry people out there to come up with it. As for the ‘Make in India’ initiative, it is an opportunity for the Indian industry and they can make components and supply to us.

What’s the way ahead for HAL?

We are moving ahead with our plans for fixed-wing LCA, rotary-wing LCH and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) besides others projects. HAL has helped develop Rustom—a remote-controlled, medium-altitude and long-endurance combat UAV. We are now trying to get a performance-based logistics system in place, which would be crucial for maintenance. Then there are MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) packages that we handle. We are one of the six nations in the world who make helicopters or have the capabilities of manufacturing choppers. We have developed advanced light helicopters; our advanced combat helicopter is ready and in a few days, HAL’s light utility helicopters will be operational.


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