Tata Group looking for bigger defence sector pie

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2014, 17:49pm hrs
Tata Advanced SystemsTata Advanced Systems has been selected as supplier for mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by the Northern Command of the Indian Army.
Business conglomerate Tata Group is looking to strengthen its position in the lucrative defence segment with the aim of getting higher growth in revenue.

The group, which has garnered revenue of Rs 1,700 crore in FY13 from the defence sector, is aiming for about 40% growth in the ongoing fiscal with large support from entities engaged in meeting needs of the defence forces.

At a press conference ahead of the DefExpo 2014, Mukund Rajan, member, group executive council and brand custodian, Tata Sons, said: We believe, as a group, we are ready to enter into any defence sector the government opens up.

The order book size is in excess of R8,000 crore and these are to be fulfilled in the next one to four years, he added.

Of the more than 100 operating companies that the group has, 14 entities, including Tata Motors, Tata Advanced Systems and Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division), are suppliers for Indian defence requirements.

He said some of the group companies have become exclusive suppliers to global original defence equipment makers, apart from playing strategic roles in India's missile programmes.

Responding to a question, Sukaran Singh, director, Tata Advanced Systems, said: In response to an RfP floated by the ministry of defence, Tata Advanced Systems has been selected as supplier for mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by the Northern Command of the Indian Army. We will need to have a separate unit, possibly expansion at our existing facility in Bangalore, to produce the UAV.

The company is also offering 155/52 mm howitzer mounted on an eight-wheeled Tata truck for enhanced mobility. The gun has been developed by its defence subsidiary, Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division, pointed out company executives.

Tata Motors vice-president (defence & government business) Vernon Noronha said the company is working on a DRDO-funded project for wheel-armoured amphibious platform, which will be ready in about two years. This is a modular vehicle with interchangeable snap-in modules, powered by a 600 horsepower engine coupled to automatic transmission, he added.

For the first time ever, the company is going to unveil a brand new specialty vehicle, the Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), at DefExpo next month. The vehicle platform, is developed jointly with the DRDOs Vehicle Research & Development Establishment in Pune. According to company officials, Tata Motors is ready with a light armoured multi-role vehicle, which is used mostly in recce missions.