Aravind Melligeri, CEO and chairman at Aequs Aerospace, talks about the company’s role in India in an interaction with FE’s Huma Siddiqui.
Aequs SEZ in Belgaum is a full-fledged aerospace ecosystem. The 250-acre SEZ is unique for a company as young as Aequs (started in 2009) and they have steadily built their expertise in the aerospace services in a way that has attracted global aerospace industry giants. Aravind Melligeri, CEO and chairman at Aequs Aerospace, talks about the company’s role in India in an interaction with FE’s Huma Siddiqui.
What role the company is playing in Skill India and Make in India initiatives?
The company has been one of the pioneers in skill development and attracting talent. With in-house AKC (Aerospace Knowledge Centre), the company envisions to educate freshers and employees in the skills that precision aerospace manufacturing needs. Belagavi has a large number of engineering colleges but due to lack of technical expertise in the subject, the learning remains limited. We are actively collaborating with the technical institutes in the region to induct Aerospace engineering and train young people. With a presence in France and US, highly-experienced instructors are brought from these countries in to teach about every aspect of aerospace manufacturing.
We have been contributing to the ‘Make in India’ initiative since we established, investing $20-30 million per year in India. Till last year, we have invested $100 million as capital and we look forward to invest $200 million in the next 5 years.
What is unique about global eco-system and where are the companies associated with you in this?
The common issue facing most aerospace and defence manufacturing companies across the world is the skewed balance between capacity and capability. While most Indian companies can boast of capacity, the capabilities are often concentrated in aerospace hubs like France, USA and Germany. On the other hand, these established aerospace hubs struggle with producing large volumes or capacity. We are building a unique global ecosystem, where customers can mitigate their increasing risks of becoming globalised – an unmatched model that serves customers locally while executing large volume orders in global scale. The eco-system can be explained as one location which caters to multiple stages of the supply chain with a fine balance of both capability and capacity. Several joint ventures (JVs) have been set up with global industry leaders in their respective fields.
Is Aequs one of the vendors involved in the Dassault Aviation’s Rafale Offsets programme?
No, the company is not among the vendors involved. Having said that, we have been producing components for Dassault through our acquisition of the SiRA Group in France. And there is an annual contract for supplying components for the Rafale fighters. Rafale uses Dassault’s design and structure, Thales’ electronic systems and Safran’s engine, and SiRA contributes to each of these suppliers.
What companies are you associated with in the US. You mentioned Boeing. What are you making for them?
For Boeing, we are involved in machining of Fokker Long-bed parts for Chinook Helicopter project. Other companies from the US we are associated with are UTAS, Eaton, Honeywell, Spirit Aero systems, MOOG, Parker and Aero fluid. We are involved in the production of components such as housing assemblies, body assemblies, manifold, etc, for them.
Among non-US-based clients, for Airbus, our company was awarded an order for machining of over 100,000 titanium machined parts for the A320neo programme over a period of five years. Aequs also has a joint venture with Saab of Sweden through which Aequs provides sub-assemblies for commercial aircrafts to aerospace majors. We have ongoing programmes for Airbus A380, Airbus 321 Neo and Airbus 330 Neo. Apart from these, Aequs also provides nose-cone assemblies for PSLV (ISRO).