Aero India 2023 | Kalyani Group Forges Ahead

Company has got many export orders & plans to deepen engagement with Indian armed forces

Smruti Deshpande

The Kalyani Group has grown in capabilities and has made inroads into the export market, Bharat Forge Defence president and CEO Rajinder Bhatia told FORCE at AeroIndia 2023 about the company’s present and future.

“We have received export orders close to 250 million USD in the last few months. We believe we are in line for many more orders from the global and domestic markets. We have a very good visibility for the short, medium and long term,” Bhatia said.

Over the last decade Bharat Forge had developed high-end technologies and the company was not necessarily focused on RFPs or government action, he said. The sole purpose was to develop technology and platforms. In Bhatia’s opinion, these platforms have done exceedingly well.

“We have developed seven artillery platforms where the Intellectual Property Rights rest with us. We have done very well in the vehicle segment and on some of the ammunition segments where we do not fill the explosives but are ready to fill. All these three segments are starting to show traction both in the Indian and the global markets. We believe we are in a position that the defence business of the Kalyani Group can be now put into a separate company which can continue to grow and bring shareholder value,” he said.

For the army, ATAGs is one of Kalyani Group’s flagship programmes. They are also taking part in all the small arms programmes. “Our M4 is one of the finest vehicles. We have supplied mine protected vehicles in the past to the army. Our vehicles are also operating with the United Nations now. We are in the process of getting some more orders for these vehicles,” he said. According to Bhatia, the vehicles have proved their mettle and were working extremely well in high altitude.

Regarding the Kalyani Group’s engagement with the air force, he said the company had participated in a programme on Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS). “We had shown the best platform. Unfortunately, in that programme we were L2.”

With the navy, however, the company is working on a large number of items. “We are working on the upgrade and maintenance of various torpedoes, propulsion and shafting systems. We are developing unmanned under vessel platforms and we believe that in the years to come our engagement with the navy will only grow.”

The group has developed two small arms weapons for DRDO and is participating in an assault rifle programme after having participated in the carbine and LMG programmes.

Speaking about Kalyani Group’s joint ventures, Bhatia said: “Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) is a vibrant JV, we have been doing business with this and have applied for certain emergency procurement programmes with KRAS in the lead. We are very hopeful that we should be able to win them and we are also hopeful that these programmes will start the process of manufacturing these products in the country. Our partners have assured us that they will extend full support in technology transfer and manufacturing in the country.” The Kalyani Group is hopeful that some important products such as the Spike Anti-tank Guided Missiles and the SPICE air-to-surface missiles will be produced in the country in a short time.

Regarding the company’s cooperation with the French company Thales, he told FORCE that the two companies have an agreement to work together on new generation weapon platforms such as the Indian carbine programme. The RFP is already out for some 4,00,000 quantities. “Thales is the partner and together we hope to work on it and succeed. It’s a very good platform and a very good weapon system,” he added.

He said the Kalyani Group’s engagement with Thales was not new. The Indian company has been supplying shells and ammunition bodies for a long time. In addition, the Kalyani Group has also been collaborating with the Sweden-based SAAB. “We are collaborating on various programmes and have an MoU with SAAB.”



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