Lohia Group invests Rs 100 cr in aerospace and defence plant in Kanpur

The Lohia Group has invested nearly Rs 100 crore in a greenfield aerospace and defence hardware plant in Kanpur.

The Group expects the commercial production to begin from March 2020, company’s director Anurag Lohia told Business Standard today.

“We will produce composite parts for the aerospace and defence manufacturers at our plant, which is spread over about 10 acres of land in Kanpur industrial area,” he informed.

The plant, which is an export-oriented unit, will be positioned to showcase the ‘Make in India’ capabilities of Uttar Pradesh, especially in the defence manufacturing sector.

Lohia has already signed an offset memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel's largest defence company for sourcing of structural parts and components for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and cargo aircraft. It is also in ‘advanced’ talks with a European firm for supplying military-grade carbon composites.

“While commercial production will commence in March 2020, we are currently manufacturing components and hardware for display at the Defence Expo (DefExpo) in Lucknow next month,” Lohia added.

The 11th edition of DefExpo, India’s premier biennial land, naval and internal security exhibition being held between February 5 and 8, will cover the entire spectrum of the country’s aerospace, defence and security interests.

Top defence manufacturers from the US, Russia, Australia, Israel and Germany are expected to participate in the event, which is being organised in Lucknow at the initiative of defence minister Rajnath Singh, who represents the constituency in Lok Sabha.

In his recent visit to Lucknow, Singh had said this edition of Expo would be the largest in terms of the exhibition area and number of national and international participants, apart from the value of MoU likely to be signed.

India is the world’s largest military hardware importer and among the top military spenders. For meeting modernisation needs of the armed forces, India will acquire equipment worth $250 billion by 2027, however, the current delivery capacity of the domestic defence sector is merely $75-80 billion annually, indicating huge potential for indigenous industry.

“We identified composites as the cutting-edge technology that we wanted to bring to India. This critical and strategic technology is for the world of tomorrow and we wanted India future ready,” Lohia noted.

In February 2019, the Group had acquired Israel-based Light & Strong Limited, Israel’s largest private producer of aerospace focused carbon fibre composite components for Israel’s aerospace and defence industry.

“In this process, we became the first Indian company to acquire and own an international composites company,” he informed adding Lohia had hired an Israeli composites expert for 2 years for executing the technology transfer from Israel to India.

Under the ‘Skill India’ initiative, the company has recruited 30 people from UP and sent them for training at its Israeli facility for six months.

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