By Aritra Banerjee
The Indian government has taken an unprecedented step towards strengthening the defence sector and minimising import dependency by earmarking a record 75% of the defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in the financial year 2023-24. The allocation stands at around Rs one lakh crore, an increase from 68% in the previous year.
As the business days at India’s largest airshow comes to a close IADB rounds up the partnerships and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed over the past three days. During the Bandhan ceremony of the 14th Aero India event in Bengaluru, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been allocated a total budget of Rs 5.94 lakh crore for the Financial Year 2023-24. Capital outlay pertaining to modernisation and infrastructure development has also been increased to Rs 1.63 lakh crore.
According to the Minister of Defence, a strong and self-reliant defence industry strengthens the country’s security system and bolsters the economy. He further highlights that, in the last few years, a domestic industry-friendly environment has been created in the country, which provides a runway for local companies to grow and ensure the holistic development of the nation while catering to the security needs of the friendly countries, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’.
The Bandhan ceremony, which saw the forging of 266 partnerships, including 201 MoUs, 53 major announcements, nine product launches, and three Transfers of Technology worth around Rs 80,000 crore, showcased a few significant agreements. For instance, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engines, France, to form a Joint venture for the Design, Development, Manufacture, and lifetime support of Helicopter Engines.
Airshow Snapshot: Some Major MoU’s Signed At Aero India
Among some of the high-profile MoUs signed during the three business days at Aero India 2023 were between AE Systems and NewSpace Research to work on uncrewed systems. Bharat Forge Limited (BFL) and Paramount Group signed an MoU for collaboration in developing and producing composite rotor blades, mission systems and store management systems for medium-lift helicopters.
Crown Group signed two MoUs with Aniba Solution and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) at Aero India, while GE Marine and HAL signed an MoU for LM500 marine gas turbines. Adding to the list, Bharat Electric Limited (BEL) and Goa Shipyard Limited (GLS) signed an MoU to address global market opportunities for naval platforms.
In an exciting development, this instalment of Aero India saw Bollywood star Sunil Shetty at the airshow visiting a start-up in which he invested.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) also entered an MoU with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) on IWBC and Other Line Replacement Units (LRUs) for Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
Another MoU was signed between Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and Rolls-Royce Solutions GmbH (MTU) for License production with localisation of the MTU 16V4000M73L engine to support the indigenous content for the Next Generation Fast Attack Craft vessel for the Indian Navy.
Additionally, the event witnessed the launch of some products such as Vertically Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (Bharat Dynamics Limited), SAL Seeker ATGM for BMP II (Bharat Dynamics Limited), and Jishnu (Bharat Dynamics Limited). Indigenously-built ‘Counter Drone Radar’ based on technology from DRDO (Astra Microwave Products Limited), 9 mm sub-sonic ammunition (Munitions India Limited), and Software-defined NAVIC/GPS receiver module based on indigenously-developed processors (Astra Microwave Products Limited) were also showcased.
In summary, the government’s allocation of a record 75% of the defence capital procurement budget to domestic industry, and the partnership agreements and product launches announced during the Bandhan ceremony at the 14th Aero India event, are meant to bolster the defence sector and the economy.