Mahindra Defence ready with UAV platforms

Says will kick-start production once it gets solid queries

Mahindra Defence ready with UAV platforms

Mahindra Defence System (MDS), part of the $17-bn Mahindra & Mahindra, is all set for the production of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system platforms.

MDS Vice President (Strategic Business Development) Samir Advani said the company has attained full technology capability in developing the UAV platforms for upgrading the defence capability of the country. “We have developed UAV systems which are full-fledged platforms and can be used in the air, on the ground, and in the deep sea.

Once we get solid queries from any customers, MDS will go for production,” he said. UAVs are sophisticated systems with lightweight frames, advanced propulsion systems, secure data links, and high technology control systems and payloads.

“For the land system, which is backed by core competencies of M&M, we make different types of armoured vehicles. We have already developed the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT). Our Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme is running behind schedule,” he said.

In naval systems, the company has developed underwater sonar to protect ships from attacks. In radars, the company has developed the latest electronic support systems and instruments.

Land, naval, radar systems

The company came into the limelight when it made an effort to buy a majority stake in Pipavav Offshore and Defence Engineering (PODE) in a Rs 4,000-crore multi-layered deal.

“Opportunities in defence are actually the need of the hour for the nation to have an independent manufacturing capability. Therefore, since 2000 onwards, M&M started investing in various defence and other allied manufacturing activities. We can claim to be the only company having presence in land, naval, and radar systems,” said Advani.

He downplayed the defence offset clause as part of the defence procurement policy, and said industry should view this as a spin-off opportunity. “Companies should focus on building defence manufacturing capabilities and skill development in-house. If the technology is not mature enough, they should go for partnerships. Here the focus should be more on product development than on services,” he said.

Advani said the company has three manufacturing facilities in India, and has enough in its order book to occupy itself for the coming two years. When asked about MDS’ revenue target, he said, “Once the government walks the talk on its defence procurement and production plans, I think we will be busy for the next 20 to 25 years. We are looking at strengthening our position in India and after that will think of the export market.”

MDS recently started Mahindra Emirates Vehicle Armouring Fz, based in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE.  MDS is also supported on the technology front by sister companies Mahindra Aerospace, Mahindra Telephonic Integrated Systems and Tech Mahindra.

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