The Adani Group is betting big on the export market with its first military facility to manufacture Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) set to become operational in Hyderabad this month.
The group which made a measured entry into the defence manufacturing business in 2015 will initially make the Hermes 900 UAV for an order from the Israeli defence forces and is looking for further options for exports in the global market.
The Russian government was earlier in talks with the company to potentially partner for manufacturing AK 103 assault rifles, though the Centre has now nominated state-run Ordnance Factory Board for the contract.
Top company executives told ET that the company plans to not limit the Hyderabad facility to UAVs and would upgrade it to manufacturing high-end helicopter gears by next year and is looking at India as a manufacturing hub for orders from across the globe.
“We got our internal approvals in December and will have the facility operational in October, in less than ten months that included land acquisition and construction,” Adani Defence and Aerospace head Ashish Rajvanshi told ET.
The company is looking to execute its first order for 12 UAVs through Adani Elbit Advanced Systems India Ltd (AEASIL), a joint venture, and will manufacture the entire fuselage of the Herme 900 UAV which will be exported to Israel for fitment of sensors and avionics. The joint venture is also hopeful to execute another order from a South East Asian nation shortly.
“This is not part of any offsets and is not dependent on any Indian order. We are proving our capability to be a part of the global supply chain. A capability that is not just India specific but one that is globally competitive,” Rajvanshi says.
The Adani Group is setting up a 20-acre facility near the Hyderabad international airport as its hub for manufacturing UAVs and other military products and has already sent over 40 engineers for training in Israel to run the plant.
After a subtle entry into the defence business in 2015, the Adani group has secured several licenses for manufacturing military products but formally announced its plans in September 2017 for collaboration with Swedish firm Saab that will compete for an order to supply fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.
ET has reported that the Adani’s joint venture company had responded to a request for information by the Indian defence ministry for a new fleet of medium weight unmanned aerial vehicles. While the procurement process has not progressed, India requires close to 200 new UAVs for the three services to meet an increasing demand for surveillance platforms.
SOURCE : ET