PSUs, Private Sector Lead India's Defence Prowess With Indigenous Manufacturing

The Make in India program gains momentum with import substitution, targeting a $1.7 trillion turnover and $350 billion export in military goods and services by 2025. 

PSUs, Private Sector Lead India's Defence Prowess With Indigenous Manufacturing

India stands at the precipice of a transformative era in its strategic electronics sector, where the convergence of ambitious policy initiatives and a rapidly modernizing military presents a vast canvas of opportunities for home grown companies. India's Defence Procurement Policy, 'Make in India' initiative, and offset policies forecast substantial growth, with projections indicating a decade-long electronics consumption of US$ 70-72 billion. The Make in India program gains momentum with import substitution, targeting a $1.7 trillion turnover and $350 billion export in military goods and services by 2025. Reforms, including increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), fortify Make in India and Make for the World goals. The tri-service exercise 'Bharat Shakti' in Rajasthan's Pokhran on March 12 in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent out a message to the world while showcasing performance of indigenous weapons.

Exponential Growth On Cards

In the coming years, exponential growth is anticipated in both combat systems and non-platform-based programs, paving the way for smart battalions, presenting a dual opportunity for electronics manufacturing in India. Critical projects in avionics, night vision devices, missile electronics, electronic warfare, robotics, radars, and UAV navigation systems highlight the demand for electronic solutions. Key applications include weapons control systems, avionics, digital displays, and advanced PCB design technology. Other projects that span electronics sector are Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS), line replaceable units for projects like Light Combat Aircraft (LCAs), Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), and drones. Rugged displays, personal digital assistant devices, laptops in Battlefield Management System (BMS) and Electronic components for Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), self-propelled guns, etc.

Approval For AMCA Manufacturing

Recently, the  Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) clearing a long-pending proposal to indigenously design and develop a fifth-generation deep penetration Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in line with the futuristic requirement of the Indian Air Force. The initial cost of the project will be Rs 15,000 crore. Indian firms are working to develop a medium-weight deep penetration fighter jet with advanced stealth features to bolster its Air Force's power capability. This will be another feather in the cap for the India's indigenous manufacturing in defence after Tejas light combat aircraft.

PSU, SMEs Lead Charge

Numerous companies contribute to the defence sector, encompassing both public and private entities such as Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (SED), Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The sector benefits from collaborations between government organizations, defence establishments, and private firms. The ecosystem involves a diverse range of companies, each contributing to different facets of the strategic electronics landscape, from research and development to manufacturing and innovation. Companies like UKB Electronics Pvt Ltd, Exicom Tele-Systems and VEM Technologies  are some of the players who have showcased that even mid segment firms are keen on contributing to India's defence prowess. They are now among the select few companies in India to be able to supply to the Indian Army. The approval, sanctioned by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance, Electronics Division for UKB Electronics encompasses the supply of specialized wires and cables designed for signal and transmission equipment. 

"We take immense pride in witnessing the transformative impact of the ‘Make in India’ initiative on our defense manufacturing sector. The journey towards self-reliance in defense holds profound significance, not just as a strategic move, but as a pivotal step towards securing our nation’s future. The solidification of defense manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ banner reflects a commitment to innovation, technological advancement, and economic growth. It is a testament to the resilience and capability of our domestic industries, fostering a sense of self-sufficiency in critical areas of national security. The indigenous production of defense equipment not only ensures the highest standards of quality but also bolsters our armed forces with cutting-edge technology and solutions," said, Manoj Tayal, Managing Director, UKB Electronics.

India's Indigenous Defence Market

The annual defence production of India, which was around Rs 40,000 crore in 2014, has now crossed a record Rs 1.10 lakh crore. The defence exports today have touched Rs 16,000 crore from a meagre Rs 1,000 crore nine-ten years ago. We have set a target to achieve Rs 50,000 crore of exports by 2028-29. The Government is continuously working with defence industries and their associations to remove the challenges faced by them and promote defence production in the country. A number of policy reforms have been taken by the government to achieve the objective of ease of doing business, including the integration of MSMEs and start-ups into the supply chain. Due to these policies, the industries, including MSMEs and start-ups, are forthcoming in defence design, development and manufacturing and there is almost a 200 per cent increase in the number of defence licenses issued to the industries in the last 7-8 years by the Government. These measures have given a boost to the defence industrial manufacturing ecosystem in the country and generated tremendous employment opportunities.