Exclusive – Aim to take ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ to the next level: Anurag Lohia, CEO, Lohia Aerospace Systems

The Lohia Aerospace Systems, an aerospace and defence subsidiary of the Kanpur-based Lohia Group, intends to contribute in the effort by becoming a leading exporter of customised composite products to global customers.

Anurag Lohia
Anurag Lohia, CEO, Lohia Aerospace Systems

India aims to be a USD5-trillion economy in the next five years and plans to do USD 25-billion defence manufacturing, of which USD5 billion will be aerospace and defence exports. The Lohia Aerospace Systems, an aerospace and defence subsidiary of the Kanpur-based Lohia Group, intends to contribute in the effort by becoming a leading exporter of customised composite products to global customers.

“With capacities and technical expertise to design and manufacture composite products for the aerospace and defence sectors, Lohia envisions to offer a wide range of composite products, through its best-in-class manufacturing facilities in two countries and thereby establishing India as a leading exporter of customized composite products to customers worldwide,” Anurag Lohia, CEO Lohia Aerospace Systems said in an interview to Huma Siddiqui

Following are excerpts:

What is the contribution of the Lohia Group to the aerospace and defence sector in India?

The company’s composite experts have more than 100 years of combined experience in manufacturing composite components for the aviation, military and aerospace sector. Our products are customised to suit stringent customer requirements and delivered to meet the highest quality standards for commercial, military and space applications.

How did Lohia Group get into the A&D market?

In 2019, Lohia Group made inroads into the aerospace and defence sector with the acquisition of Israel-based Light & Strong Limited. Specialising in composite components production, L&S’s established pedigree in military technology manufacturing is a synergistic fit with Lohia Group’s decade long large-scale manufacturing expertise. In August 2019, Lohia began construction for India’s largest Greenfield aerospace composites facility in Uttar Pradesh and in October 2019, initiated on-the-job training of LAS technicians at our Israeli facility. In June-July 2020, we completed construction of our 8,000 square metre facility and commissioned the plant and machinery. Supporting the Indian government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ economic vision, Lohia Group became one of the first companies to start production/manufacturing in the Uttar Pradesh defence corridor and became a partner to India’s growth story in the A&D sector. We inherit a rich heritage of manufacturing excellence from our parent company – Lohia Group.  The Group’s flagship company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the plastic woven sack industry and provides end-to-end solutions to customers in 90 countries, employing more than 5,000 people. Other businesses include textiles and auto components and manufacturing in four continents.

What is your offering to the A&D sector, both for the local and global market?

Lohia Aerospace Systems supplies composite parts and assemblies for large cargo aircraft. Apart from supplying the prepreg layups and glass epoxy parts, the company has also been design partners for some of the programs. With the stringent quality standards of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) ground forces, the entire frame of the mini–Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (mini-UAV) is crafted from the finest quality carbon fibre and can withstand extreme conditions. Our exacting precision standards make it the single source supplier of state-of-the-art loitering systems.

The loitering systems are built to rigorous specifications of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers which are used effectively in frontline battlefields.Lohia A&D products are specially crafted for its clients across commercial aerospace applications, military applications and space applications. And also the single source supplier for unmanned aerial vehicle structures to multiple companies globally. We supply payloads, magazines and radomes (from air, space, submerged to naval and ground) to the leaders in aerospace and defence sector. Our long-standing history, experienced management, engineering capability and workforce have provided us with real-world experience, transforming customers’ design visions into composite reality. We are proud partners to India’s space programme, having supplied the crucial carbon composite landing legs and solar panel frames on satellites.

What are the facilities that are available to Lohia Group for meeting Indian A&D requirements?

The Group delivers unparalleled manufacturing expertise working with international quality standards. With manufacturing setups across countries we provide our customer risk mitigation given the availability of production in two geographies, the company’s specialist teams work on industry defined systems and platforms. The company has manufacturing presence in Israel and India. Both the company’s facilities strategically serve customers globally, through symbiotic synergies in technology support and value manufacturing. The two facilities span a total of 11,000 sqm. With over 100 skilled technicians, the company follows paperless internet of things (IOT) manufacturing and Enterprise Resource Planning-based processes to optimize and automate our operations. The Israel facility was established in 2007 and the manufacturing unit is based in an aerospace standard-certified 4,000 sqm facility with class 100,000 clean rooms, wet lay-up rooms, autoclaves, ovens, CNS milling centre, paint shop, 900 sqm of warehouse and AS 9100 D certification. The key strengths at the Israel facility include an exclusive focus on aerospace and military sectors, an in-house dedicated design and engineering team with strong industry and experience, and various manufacturing technologies including Prepreg layup, Wet layup, LRI (Liquid Resin Infusion). At the Indian facility, the brand-new manufacturing unit in Kanpur is designed as the centre for every composite requirement.

The unit’s key highlights include a one-stop solution centre for every composite need, fully integrated laboratory to monitor and test. From incoming raw material inspection to Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and final product testing, the only aerospace composite components manufacturer with live production in the proposed Defence Corridor, offering multiplier offset benefits as an MSME, and every team member undergoes on-the-job training at the Israel facility and India’s youngest aerospace company to be NADCAP certified.

What is the end-state that Lohia Group wants to achieve in the A&D sector?

Being a key participant in the Indian aerospace and defence sector, the company aims to become a successful vehicle for executing offset obligations of global companies through this endeavour. By being a certified MSME company we provide multiplier benefits for offset sourcing from us. All our employees are also trained in our Israeli facilities to bring home knowledge and expertise of the aerospace sector. With capabilities to manufacture and assemble most complex and demanding composite components and assemblies, the company’s proven track record in design excellence its’ applications and integration in aerospace, defence and military discipline is a key differentiator and the roll-call in the market with most of the projects being awarded on a nomination basis. We have a history of working on critical strategic projects for our partners with a reputation of being solution providers under the most stringent of conditions. By leveraging the Israeli know-how in military technology manufacturing, Lohia Aerospace System brings high-end key technologies in the aerospace and defence composites domain to India. We are passionate about delivering the highest quality composite components, on time, every time. We aim to take India’s vision of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ to the next level by establishing India as a leading exporter of customized composite products to global OEMs.

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