PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Defence and HLS Committee organised an International Conference on Critical and Strategic Materials in Aerospace and Defence at AERO INDIA 2021.
Dr. Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, Department of Defence, Government of India was the Chief Guest for this International Conference and Dr. Satheesh Reddy, Chairman DRDO and Dr. Saket Kumar, Director General, Industries & Commerce, Government of Haryana were the Guests of Honor for this International Conference.
Speakers included & CEO, Lockheed Martin India William Blair, VP; President, Rolls Royce India Kishore Jayaraman,; Director-Supplier Management, Boeing India International Ashwani Bahrgava; Director, GTRE M Z Siddique and Regional Director, RCMA B Saha and Director, Defence & Aerospace, EY Col K V Kuber who all shared their respective views and suggestions on the roadmap for making India self-reliant in its material needs for various strategic sector.
Dr. Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary shared that stress has been laid on the materials in DAP 2020. If any material is available in India then it has to source from India and it has to be a part of the RFP.As a part of Make in India, we want to see why not materials be developed in India. These materials need to be developed in India either by the material laboratories or though industry participation. MSMEs are the backbone of defence and aerospace industry in India. The Government aims to double the number of MSMEs from 8000 in defence and aerospace sector to 16000 in the next five years. The Government has reserved that any procurement up to Rs. 100 crores will be reserved from Indian MSMEs. There has also been a significant increase of 72% last year in the procurement through GeM.
Chairman, DRDO Dr. Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts taken by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and MIDHANI to discuss on the critical and strategic materials and work on the issues related to it. Indian needs to master the manufacturing technology in order to become self- reliant and the Government is very serious about developing the capabilities for the materials within the country. He spoke about the various stages of development of the materials right away from mining, processing technology to their application in strategic sectors.
President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sanjay Aggarwal applauded the Government for the new defence budget and the various policies for the growth of the aerospace and defence sector. Self-reliance is a major corner-stone on which the military capability of any nation rests. Accordingly, the Defence Acquisition Policy promulgated by the Government, aims at achieving substantive self-reliance in the design, development and production of equipment, weapon systems, platforms required for defence in as early a time frame possible, creating conditions conducive for private industry to play an active role in this endeavor; enhancing potential of SMEs in indigenization and broadening the defence R&D base of the country. As far as the indigenization is concerned, we have to take the first steps first where we have the in house capability to manufacture the materials, components and assemblies.
Strategic materials are increasingly important to the development of a nation-state in general and its security in particular. He urged that a considerable part of the defence capex budget should be reserved for indigenous manufacturers.
Chair, Defence & HLS Committee, PHD Chamber M K Gupta set the tone for the Conference by sharing the various issues on the critical and strategic material requirements by the Indian and the global OEMs. He urged the Ministry of Defence to take up the various issues such as the Restriction in the use of indigenously developed materials in foreign designed defence equipment, Certification of defence equipment manufactured with indigenously developed materials, lack of adequate testing facilities for critical materials for defence applications and other key issues.
IAS, Director General, Industries & Commerce and Advisor, Civil Aviation, Government of Haryana Saket Kumar highlighted Haryana as destination for companies who are willing defence production, aerospace and defence. Dr. Kumar, also introduced upcoming project of Integrated Aviation Hub in Hissar. It includes Green field airport and along that airport developing Integrated Aviation Hub; which is right on the Kolkata Amritsar Corridor.
VP & CEO, Lockheed Martin India Wiliam Blair shared about Lockheed Martin’s initiative in driving Atmannirbhar Bharat. They are driving different programs with TATA and recently they have entered into collaboration with MIDHANI. They are also working with different organizations to develop the manufacturing the capability of the Indian MSMEs which are aligned as Tier II and Tier II suppliers with their Indian partners like TATA. The only important thing which is missing is the availability of adequate materials for their requirements which needs to be developed here in India. They are keen to be a part of any consortium approach for developing the manufacturing capability of the Indian companies.
President, Rolls Royce India Kishore Jayaraman insisted that Indian has the capability and also has the demographic dividend. Rolls Royce is working with different organizations like MIDHIANI to co-create products and also that the materials is going to play a very important role. We cannot see and Atmanirbhar Bharat unless and until we develop the capability for materials.
Director-Supplier Management, Boeing India International Ashwani Bhargava said that Boeing sources 1 billion dollar from different suppliers in India and 26% from those are MSMEs. Mr. Bhargava also suggested solving the problem of producing raw material at controlled price and also being able to supply for Global requirements at controlled price and desired quality.
Director, Defence & Aerospace, Ernst & Young Col. Kuber, discussed on how the Indian companies can be aligned with the global supply chain. He also talked about the phased plan for developing the various strategic and critical material over time in future indigenously. The sourcing for the materials should be done internally as far as possible to reduce the dependency on the foreign suppliers..
Chairman & Managing Director, MIDHANI S K Jha emphasized that India has strength of Material but still we are importing martial due to certain factors. We should replace import which is taking place as number of equipment coming from foreign, material are known to us however importing due to stamping and other related issues. In Space and Nuclear India has done good work in martial and cost in technology. Such success story could be created in defence Under Atmnirbhar Bharat. MIDHANI success is due to R&D from DRDO and certification from CEMILAC and DGAQA.
Regional Director, RCMA (Materials) B Saha stated that next 5-10 years are crucial for strategic material. Mr. Saha, emphasized the importance of availability of right material at right time, qualified and certified material. A drive should be there for wider ecosystem, vast material manufacturing base from private industry, MSME startups and established PSUs. Also discussed Challenges in certification, Airborne material in strategic in nature. Aeronautical Testing should be given high priority and to be looked into seriously.
Director, Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) M Z Siddique emphasized importance of material for Gas Turbine System of next generation. Material tech for Gas Turbine engine evolution has mammoth weight age of 50%. M Z Siddique also discussed various projects to cater future challenges on developing critical material. Collaborations is the order of the day, we may have mission specific categorization of material, joint working groups for material, advance Centre of excellence in Manufacturing technologies. Manufacturing and Material should go hand in hand.
Co-Chair, Defence & HLS Committee, PHD Chamber Vikram Sahgal gave a concluding remarks and the vote of thanks to all the dignitaries, speakers and delegates.
The conference was moderated by Assistant Secretary General, PHD Chamber Vivek Seigell and was well attended by a number of delegates from Indian defence industry and abroad both physically and virtually.