Godrej Aerospace will focus on opportunities in Space, Defence and domestic aircraft programs, says SM Vaidya, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Aerospace

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August 14, 2021 11:02 AM

On the eve of India’s 75th Independence Day, SM Vaidya, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Aerospace talks about the company’s transformation and future plans with Huma Siddiqui.

The company Godrej & Boyce has been committed to the cause of indigenous manufacturing for India's space initiatives. (Images: Godrej Aerospace)

Godrej Aerospace (GA) has made key contributions for the Chandrayaan I&II and Mangalyaan space missions and has been associated with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for almost three decades. The company Godrej & Boyce has been committed to the cause of indigenous manufacturing for India’s space initiatives, which are critical to propelling the country forward.

On the eve of India’s 75th Independence Day, SM Vaidya, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Aerospace talks about the company’s transformation and future plans with Huma Siddiqui.

Following are excerpts:

How has Godrej transformed themselves in the 75 years of Independence? With the space sector now opening up for a lot of private players, how is Godrej handling the competition?

Autonomy to both ISRO and private industry was the need of the hour; hence the public-private partnership was a positive development towards self-reliance. The private industry players, thanks to their agility, ability to scale up rapidly and better productivity, are aiding in covering challenges that have been faced by the sector over the past years. In fact, many private-sector companies have demonstrated this in their particular fields and done it admirably. Many instances may be found in industries such as automobiles, locomotives, machine tools, and general engineering.

We must predefine work share in order to establish a win-win situation, and the goal must be to outperform global rivals rather than lowering costs domestically, which may result in a compromise in quality and/or delivery. However, it is crucial to note that we must maintain strict controls over justifiable use, guarantee safety in all of our activities, and consider environmental and sustainability factors when doing so.

What is Godrej doing in the space and aerospace sector?

For the past three decades, Godrej has been affiliated with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The collaboration began with the production of basic components to meet ISRO’s needs, and then expanded to the production of launch vehicle subsystems, and then complex systems such as liquid propulsion engines for PSLV and GSLV rockets, satellite thrusters, and antenna systems.

In terms of projects, we are key partners to BrahMos, with a nearly 70 per cent stake in metallic assembly, Surface to Air Missile (SAM) and other strategic programs.

Is Godrej looking for tie ups with global private players?

Godrej Aerospace has always focused on manufacturing critical metallic sub systems for aerospace applications based on customer designs and have started manufacturing components in Composite material also. To aid our manufacturing capabilities for complex sub systems, we look for technology tie ups with experts in selected areas like Composite manufacturing and Sheet Metal forming.

What are your future plans?

With the new policy initiatives by the government for Atmanirbhar Bharat and subsequent embargo on import for a varied list of defence equipment (the 101 defence equipment’s declared last year and the new positive list of 108 items declared this year), new opportunities in domestic programs have been created for Indian industries. 108 technologies declared by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for development by the private sector and the opening up of the Indian Space sector for private industries are also significant in this direction. Godrej Aerospace focus would be to work on these opportunities in Space, Defence and domestic aircraft programs based on current experience and facility.

The propulsion system for Satellites, Engines for Aircraft, increasing our participation in the defence programs and moving to “Build to Spec” for Line Replaceable Units like actuators and pumps are some of the focus areas for the future.

What are the new projects in the pipeline?

“Build to Spec” for Line Replaceable units like Actuators and Pumps is an important focus area for Godrej Aerospace that has gained momentum in the last two years and has won a project under the Technology Development Fund program for developing a critical hydraulic unit for an Indian fighter jet program.

Private sector companies in several countries in Africa and South America are doing space related work. Is Godrej looking in those countries to expand their presence?

Our current focus is to work on the opportunities in the domestic Space segment.

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