Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is believed to be looking for 2,000 acres in Gujarat to set up a defence vehicles plant.
Sources say the company is exploring the possibility of setting up the facility either in Kutch, home to Asia Motor Works, a leading manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles and auto components, or in the ancient port city of Dholera, which is being aggressively marketed by the Gujarat government to lure mega investments into the Dholera SIR.
While an email to M&M went unanswered, it is learnt that the company will announce its proposed investment in Gujarat during the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat biennial investment summit in January.
The proposed plant, say unconfirmed reports, will manufacture defence vehicles and bullet-proof vehicles.
Sources in the Gujarat government revealed that the move would be in keeping with PM Narendra Modi’s dream of converting the state not only into an automotive hub, but also into a centre for the defence industry. Interestingly, AMW’s Bhuj facility is spread over 2 million square metres — it produces vehicles for a wide range of civilian and defence applications. AMW has invested over Rs 2,000 crore in the plant and has a capacity to produce 50,000 vehicles. In addition, it makes tipper bodies, trailers and other vehicles at the plant.
Interestingly, M&M began assembling the Willys Jeep, used in WWII, in India in 1947. Today, the company provides complete solutions for an entire range of light combat and armoured vehicles and their derivatives for defence and security forces. The company is the largest private-sector supplier of bullet-proof vehicles in India with its up-armored vehicles serving the Indian Army, Air Force and Paramilitary and state police forces. It also exports many vehicles to other nations through the ministries of home and external affairs.
The M&M’s armored vehicle range includes the Axe, Rakshak, Marksman, up-armored and bulletproof Scorpios and Boleros, and Rapid Intervention Vehicles. The company’s purpose-built Special Military Vehicles (SMV) facility is situated near Faridabad, just outside of New Delhi.
As the Indian Army pursues its Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan and Upgrade programme, the M&M facility also functions as a centre of excellence for design, development, manufacture, final assembly, integration and test of artillery systems.
Mahindra Defence Naval Systems (MDNS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mahindra Defence Systems, incorporated in 2012, and has its manufacturing facility at Pune, Maharashtra. The customers include Indian Navy (Naval Dockyards, Naval Armament Depots, Weapon Equipment Depots, Ships and submarines), Defence PSUs, Defence Research & Development Organisation, Ordnance Factory Board etc. The product range includes torpedo launchers, decoy launchers, casings for various defence products in composites and alloys, components and sub systems of AK 630 anti-aircraft gun, large radar and sonar transparent composite structures, components for use on submarines, transportation containers in composite and alloy material.