The Adani group has stepped up its presence at Aero India – it has the biggest display area at the show - after its acquisition of Bengaluru based Alpha Design, with senior executives saying that the plan is to buy into more aerospace and defence companies in India. Adani Defence, which kicked off its production facility for UAVs in partnership with Israel’s Elbit last year, says that it has a good chance in the ongoing competition to manufacture 111 naval utility helicopters in India and has made a recent pitch to the government for a new range of UAVs for the armed forces.
“Things are looking positive in the naval utility helicopter program and we are displaying our capabilities from helicopter gears to systems and avionics. Adani is probably the only company that is currently setting up such capabilities,” Ashish Rajvanshi, who heads Aerospace and Defence for the Adani Group said. The company, which has expanded significantly after its acquisition of Alpha Design, moved a proposal last month to the defence ministry, offering its Hermes 900 for an upcoming plan to acquire over 150 Medium Altitude UAVs.
“We have requested the ministry to procure the systems under the IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured) category that requires the highest level of indigenisation. We are positive that we can make at least 60 percent of the UAV in India,” Rajvanshi said. The Adani-Elbit facility in Hyderabad will roll out the first Hermes 900 UAV in May, for an order of the Israeli armed forces. The same platform has been offered to the Indian ministry. Competition is expected from Tata Aerospace and Defence as well as DRDO that has the Rustom 2 on offer.
The company, which has partnered with SAAB Gripen for the upcoming contest for 111 fighter jets to be made in India, says that it is hopeful that the selection process for the contract starts off by July this year. On the acquisition front, Rajvanshi said that there are no plans to acquire foreign companies but there is interest to buy into more Indian companies that can offer unique capabilities that are currently missing in the aerospace and defence sector.