Display of special vehicles from commercial vehicle manufacturers at the Defexpo 2016, Goa, spoke about ‘Make in India’.
The highlight of the Defence Expo 2016 held at Goa between March 28 and March 31, 2016, was the stress to ‘Make in India’. The exhibition, also called as Defexpo India 2016, marked the ninth in the series of biennial land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibition organised by Defence Exhibition Organisation under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. An important development at the fair was the unveiling of the new Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016). The DPP 2016 highlighted the Make I and Make II category of projects. The Make I projects would be funded by the Government whereas the later would be funded by the industry. It is structured to provide the necessary leverage to make adequate investments, build the required capabilities, and match up to the contemporary and futuristic requirements of the Indian armed forces.
Stating that Indian companies have started believing in defence production, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, mentioned that projects under the Make I sub category will get government funding of 90 per cent, released in a phased manner, and based on the progress of the scheme, as per terms agreed between Ministry of Defence and the vendor. Projects under Make II sub category, claimed sources aware of the new development, will involve prototype development of equipment or system or platform or their upgrades; their sub-systems or sub-assembly or assemblies (components) with a focus on import substitution, for which no government funding will be provided for prototype development purposes. Providing impetus on defence sector among the 25 sectors of industry, the ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014. Expected to hike the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25 per cent of the gross domestic product or GDP, the provision of ‘Make’ category of capital acquisition is a key pillar for realising the vision behind the initiative. Over 1000 arms vendors made it to the fair.
Bharat Forge and AM General team up for light specialist vehicle program
World renowned auto components manufacturer, Bharat Forge announced a tie-up with AM General, the maker of HMMWV, which is also known as Hummer or Hummvee, to ‘build in India’ a Light Specialist Vehicle (LSV). The program will see the two partners bank upon AM General’s battle-tested HMMWV as the LSV platform. To be made in India, the LSV is aimed at the Indian Army. The Indian Army, according to Bharat Forge sources, has stipulated in its information request that the LSV needs to be capable of performing reconnaissance and patrol roles for all arms, provide space and cross mobility in all terrains (including high altitude and deserts) to small parties and teams (approximately six), and operate independently in the battle field. “The teaming up with world-renowned light tactical vehicle provider AM General will lead to the provision of a cost effective and best-in-class mobility solutions for Indian armed forces,” said Baba N. Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge. “We look forward to deliver combat-proven mobility solutions to customers in India,” announced AM General President and CEO Andy Hove.
Four products from Ashok Leyland
Ashok Leyland announced the premiere of an advanced truck driving simulator for the all-terrain Stallion 4×4 truck, Field Artillery Tractor (FAT) 6×6 on the Super Stallion, Rhino 4×4 contemporary logistics vehicle and an ambulance 4×4 for enhanced medical support. Specifically designed for tough operating environments, and offerring the latest technology by extending a legacy of manufacturing innovative and world-class logistics equipment according to Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Ltd., the truck driving simulator for Stallion 4×4 has been built to simulate challenging terrain like snow covered roads and undulating sand dunes. Co-developed with SAAB, it would help to reduce training costs and provide situational training in a secure environment by simulating all types of terrain and weather conditions in India on a full scale replica of the driver’s compartment. A self-learning package renders a detailed review of individual training sessions to improve driving proficiency. Multiple simulators can be integrated for group movement training like moving in a convoy.
FAT 6×6 on Super Stallion platform has been designed and developed to function as a Common Gun Tower for all artillery guns. Engineered to provide unprecedented flexibility in rapid deployment, and utilisation of artillery resources, an order of over 450 vehicles have been bagged by Ashok Leyland from the Indian Army. The Rhino 4×4 is a contemporary logistics vehicle that offers greater crew comfort and easy drivability. It comes with automatic transmission, a higher power to weight ratio and gradeability, increased payload, ground clearance and step climbing capability, ABS, CTIS, reduced turning circle diameter, provision for HVAC, and many more exciting features. The Ambulance 4×4 is air-conditioned and built to provide enhanced medical support in the immediate hours of sustaining injuries. Having a double walled insulated body to maintain inside temperature, the ambulance is equipped with rear air suspension. Fitted with equipment that meets advanced life support standards, 825 numbers of such ambulances (in 4×2 configurations as well) will be supplied to the Indian Army. Ashok Leyland has announced that they have secured orders worth Rs. 800 crore in the supply of defence vehicles.
Tata Motors and JLR make a mark
Having supplied over 100,000 vehicles to the Indian military and paramilitary forces in the logistics segment, Tata Motors displayed a LSV among a host of other offerings including an armoured amphibious FICV, Kestrel. Highlighting the fact that his company has tied up with many foreign technology providers, Tata Motors defence business head, VS Noronha, mentioned that anti-tank and missiles would be installed on the Kestrel. Hinting at the light armoured multi-role vehicle playing a crucial role in-line with the requirement of the armed forces, Noronha stated that the LSV would be a part of the whole line up of programs in the land systems arena for the Indian Army. Of interest were a 6×6 high mobility vehicle and a new generation 2.5-tonne model apart from mine protected vehicles. Group company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) marked a presence. It offerred the light 4×4 Land Rover Defender series vehicle that is designed to meet a wide range of defence, reconnaissance, refugee protection and peacekeeping roles. According to the company, all Land Rover defence vehicles are designed to meet the needs of the modern army, with optimal external dimensions, high payload to weight ratios, special fixings and quick strip down. On the sidelines of Defexpo 2016, Tata Motors signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra Ex-Servicemen Corporation Ltd (MESCO) for the creation of employment opportunities for ex-service men of Indian Army. This is in response to Tata Motors’ solution for the Indian Ministry of Defences’ (MoD) prestigious USD 10 billion combat vehicle programme.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) from Polaris Defence
Featuring live demonstration of armoured vehicles and military systems besides operations by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Polaris Defence showcased the Dagor (Deployable Advance Ground Off-Road) and MRZR 4 in India for the first time. The company also showcased its civilian business arm’s six-wheeled off-roader, Sportsman Big Boss 6X6 and Ranger 6X6 800. Ergonomically designed with unbeatable combat efficiency, the Dagor was developed under a contract from elements of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and international Special Operations Forces (SOF) customers, and has first-rate off-road capability in extreme terrain at full payload. Its design allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustained support during combat operations. The vehicle uses a readily available Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) driveline, controls and components. This helps to streamline mechanic and operator training. Claimed to provide its operator instant preparedness for missions even in the most extreme terrain, the MRZR 4 is highly mobile and configurable for a variety of applications. Air transportable, it has been combat-proven and purchased by the US and allied forces. Both Dagor and MRZR 4 are already in use by SOCOM, SOF and Allied Special Forces.
Of the 1055 companies that partcipated in Defexpo 2016, an estimated 52 per cent were domestic exhibitors. The number of domestic exhibitors has more than doubled since the 2014 fair, which had 256 domestic participants and 368 foreign participants. The list of domestic participants included many commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Bharat Earth Movers, Bharat Forge, Defence Research Developmental Organization (DRDO) and Mahindra. Among foerign participants, there were 91 from the US, 71 from Russia, 46 from UK, and 38 from France and Germany. The fair focused on the latest developments and products in land, maritime and domestic security systems.