IADB: Since its inception, BDL has been working in collaboration with DRDO & foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for manufacture and supply of various missiles and allied equipment to Indian Armed Forces.
In a recent conversation, with the Director (Production), BDL for this September edition, we delved down into many facets for our patrons. Excerpts below from the conversation.
1-: Can you bring out the progress made on Indigenization of weapon systems manufactured by BDL and steps taken to achieve self-reliance in manufacturing of missiles and allied systems.?
BDL has been focusing on indigenizing technology for self-reliance from the day any contract is signed. In the case of Invar and Konkurs – M missiles, even though technology transfer was limited, BDL took the initiative and achieved an indigenous content of 80 to 95% respectively.
However, BDL’s major products on an average are indigenized by more than 90%. BDL is also putting all out efforts for further indigenization of left over percentage in a phased manner.
Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Indigenization Plan), BDL has made an Indigenization Plan for Five Years (2020-21 to 2024-25) and set a target of indigenization of 166 items. The target set for the year 2020-21 is 72 items. Against this, I am glad to inform you that BDL could indigenize 79 items.
BDL is designing and developing indigenous 3rd generation ATGM. The product is being developed as a Make-II project under Indian Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (Indian IDDM) category of Defence Procurement Procedure. BDL has already received the Project Sanction Order for the weapon system and has now responded to the EoI floated by Indian MoD.
MoD’s indigenization portal, SRIJAN, which is a ‘one stop shop’ online portal that provides access to the vendors to take up items that can be taken up for indigenization’. In this portal, as on date, BDL has uploaded 447 items. These 447 items include all the items imported by BDL with value of imports.
Critical components and sub-assemblies of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and Underwater Weapons have also been indigenized. As part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, BDL has introduced two new products viz. Konkurs Missile Test Equipment and Konkurs Launcher Test Equipment.
2. Being a Defence PSU, how are you fulfilling the MSE Mandate issued by the Govt. of India?
BDL has progressively developed MSME Vendors over a period and has been able to improve MSME participation from 10% to 32.18 % progressively over the years since 2017. This is well above the 25% mandate stipulated by the GoI.
Apart from this, in order to improve procurement from MSME owned by SC-ST and women enterprises, BDL conducts special drive for registration of the same with active participation of organizations like DICCI (Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry), EEPC etc. BDL has also populated a list of items to be indigenized on BDL portal and Govt Sirjan Portal. The results are encouraging. BDL goes all out to meet the stipulated targets through various initiatives and awareness programmes for MSEs.
BDL is also offering various items for indigenization of various missiles to the industry including MSMEs. The Company is also extending its technical support to its vendors including providing test facilities available with BDL.
- What efforts are being made to enhance the manufacturing facilities?
BDL has entered into MoU with T-Hub and established Innovation Promotion Centre (IPC) at T-Hub to promote a collaborative environment with Start-ups. Individual MoUs have been entered with start-ups to develop innovative products. BDL is in the process of identifying suitable start-ups which are working on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites, Electro-Optical Systems, Anti drone system for the development of state- of- the- art products for the Indian Armed Forces.
BDL is ready to share its test facilities with start-ups for testing of materials / sub-systems / equipment. The details of test facilities are available in public domain. The procedures have been streamlined to encourage active participation of ‘start ups’.
Synergy is being maintained between the industry and academia to sustain balance between experience and knowledge industry.
- How is BDL handling technological challenges like Automation, Digital Transformation and Big data analysis. How is this aiding BDL in its manufacturing processes?
BDL has been constantly upgrading its manufacturing technologies and processes to state-of-the-art including Industry 4.0, Robotics operated workshops and modernization of management systems and less dependency on import technology.
BDL is implementing Industry 4.0 for the Konkurs-M launcher, for this, we have considered 20 Launcher sub-assemblies. In order to predict the process reliability before integration, the data has to be analysed for different parameters as per process, stage-wise all the parameters will be entered. These reports are converted into structured query language formats for further processing. This huge Data will be Stored in the dedicated server through tabs and it will be captured & analysed for getting meaningful information with the help of Big Data technology. Through Artificial Intelligence, this data is used to predict the failure mode of launcher sub-assemblies and main assembly. With this, we can improve the process from the outcome of the data analytics. Quality of the product can be improved by root cause analysis.
- What efforts are being made to enhance the manufacturing facilities?
Several initiatives have been taken up by BDL in this direction. We have established a 50 Tonne Rocket motor static test facility at BDL- IBU. It is one of the most sophisticated state-of- the- art test facilities. In all the missiles, the rocket motor is an essential and critical sub system. Static testing of a rocket motor is a destructive test to evaluate performance of the propellant, therefore it is important to measure various ballistic parameters during static firing of Rocket Motor. In this facility, various types of SAM rocket motors viz. Akash, MR SAM, Astra etc can be tested.
BDL is working on establishing a propellant manufacturing plant at UP Defence corridor very soon. The plant is being established with a state of Art Indigenous technology. The plant would manufacture propellants required for captive consumption and export also.
Further, BDL is also setting up new manufacturing facilities in its premises such as seeker facility center, warhead production facility and High Temperature Carbon Composite manufacturing facility. In addition to these, the Surface–Mount Technology center and High Performance Computing facility have been set up at BDL.
- Sub surface systems have been one of the niche areas in Defence manufacturing. How do you see India’s position as compared to other countries in this domain? What’s the potential of Indian companies exporting in this domain ?.
BDL has already made forays into the Export Market by exporting TAL to a Friendly Foreign Country. Additional Orders are also in the pipeline. BDL along with private partners is working to expand its market in the South East Asian Region. BDL’s greatest advantage is Indigenous technology, proactive customer support and product life-cycle management. Niche technologies that augment BDL’s underwater product line are Homing systems and high power/high density batteries.
- BDL has achieved multiple major successes in the underwater domain. What are the specific sub-surface projects BDL is focusing on to further enhance Aatmanirbharta of the Indian Navy?
BDL is focusing on several sub-surface projects to enhance Atmanirbharta with respect to the Indian Navy. Few of these in pipeline are Generic Combat Management Simulator for the Submarines and Surface Ships of the Indian Navy where BDL has been identified an Indian Partner, Electrical Heavy Weight Torpedo under design and development with NSTL, Most Advanced extended range light weight Torpedo (Garudastra), Anti Torpedo Decoy System with Rafael (The Shade System) and as an Offset Partner for manufacture of HWT by Naval Group France under Project P-75.