In a silent but steady development, the state has been witnessing a substantial growth in the Defence sector. Taking a cue from the Centre’s indigenisation policy, partners in the public-private industrial collaboration in the sector are making a beeline for Kerala.
The Kerala-based Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), which aims to cross Rs 3,000 crore in product value by the end of the 12th Plan, has close to 60 private industries coming forward seeking collaboration.
The first Defence industry meet organised by the NPOL in 2008 had a total of 27 industries taking part, exploring the scope of partnership with the DRDO laboratory. The second industry meet witnessed participation of more than 60 players from across the country in 2012. Of these, some including Larsen & Toubro, Keltron and Uniflex Industries were recognised as partners.
“There was a tremendous response at the second industry meet. An informed decision was taken to involve more industrial partners in our attempt towards self-reliance in defence, so as to harness external capabilities for faster delivery of systems and to achieve a higher product value based on research and development. Of the 60 companies that came forward, we zeroed in on about 20. The total product value based on collaboration with these companies will be around 70 percent of the product-value target of `3,000 crore,” said NPOL Director S Ananthanarayana.
Some of the companies associated with the NPOL are Bharat Electronics, Bangalore; Keltron, Kuttipuram; Keltron Controls, Aroor and Larsen & Toubro. Traditionally, Bharat Electronics has been the production partner for the NPOL’s series of hull-mounted sonars. Research and development efforts have resulted in the formation of an independent business unit (naval systems) and the setting up of production lines at Bharat Electronics in both transducers and electronics. Similarly, Keltron Controls, a state PSU, has benefited from the introduction of towed arrays in 2006.
“Maintenance of systems promises a whole new area of involvement for companies, since the systems will proliferate as the Navy grows in multi dimensions,” he further said.