DefExpo 2018: On day one, DRDO, MNCs inks pacts with Indian companies

An Indian Arjun Mark II tank drives through sand during a display at the DefExpo 2018, in Chennai. The Expo is being held between April 11 and 14 | PTI Photo
On the first day of Defence Expo 2018, which started on Wednesday, one of the key developments was the number of agreements signed for ‘Transfer of Technology (TOT).

Starting from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Adani, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), multinationals from United States, Europe, Korea have signed pacts and shown interest 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 for the supply of defence equipment," said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

This comes on the backdrop of government’s efforts to boost private industry to participate in the “Make in India” programme to cater both domestic and export markets.

On Wednesday, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over the products it has developed to private players as part of its “Transfer of Technology” (TOT) drive. Some of these technologies/products included ASTRA missile; Varunastra – heavyweight torpedo; Anti- Thermal Laser Grenade; Identification of Friend & Foe (IFF); HUMSA-UG, ABHAY Sonar etc.,

In the last three years, around 200 ToTs generated revenue to the tune of around Rs 1.9 billion for DRDO, say officials.

Giora Katz, executive vice-president of Rafael Advanced Systems, said that “Make in India” is an excellent opportunity for the company to showcase its technology.

“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 joint venture 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.

An Indian Arjun Mark II tank drives through sand during a display at the DefExpo 2018, in Chennai. The Expo is being held between April 11 and 14 | PTI Photo
Guto Bebb, MP and UK Minister for Defence Procurement, who is leading a delegation to Defexpo, says that around 20 UK companies keep on forging partnerships and joint ventures with Indian firms.

Adani Group has collaborated with Punj Lloyd and US-based Rave Gears for the design, manufacture and assembly of high precision gears and transmission systems for rotary platforms. Technology will be sourced from Rave, which has major aerospace and defence original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), US government and major NASCAR & Formula 1 team as its customers, covers drone, aerospace and racing markets.

The collaboration intends to manufacture gears and gear assemblies mainly for rotary platforms, currently under production in India for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and for future programs like the Naval Utility Helicopters and Naval Multi-Role Helicopters. The partnership will use the manufacturing base in India for exports to global OEMs, both in the military and civil aerospace domain.

Ashish Rajvanshi, head of Adani Defence & Aerospace said, the competition is not the way forward for the industry, it will be only collaboration.

Ashok Wadhawan, president Manufacturing Business at Punj Lloyd said that today Indian companies don’t need capital; they want technologies while they have capability and capacities to manufacture.

Mahindra Defence, part of Mahindra and Mahindra Group, has signed a MoU with Japan-based ShinMaywa Industries Limited to manufacture and supply sea plans to Indian Navy. The company also formed a partnership with Israel-based Aeronautics to manufacture Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones.

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