Crown Group Defence has established itself as a premier supplier of equipment to both the Indian Army and Navy. In a wide ranging interview with Raksha Anirveda, Cmde Rakesh Anand (Retd.), Head of Marine Division, Crown Group Defence talks about the contributions made by the Marine Division of the Crown Group to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ in Defence MRO & Manufacturing sectors.
RA: Why is the development of indigenous Defence MRO capabilities for India important?
Cmde RA: To maintain and service India’s huge defence assets, it is very important for our country to develop indigenous Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) capabilities as we need to maintain and service our military assets on a regular basis to be in battle ready mode all the time.
With Government of India’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vis-a-vis the current environment and defence ecosystem, great opportunities have arisen for MSMEs to build their capabilities to meet current and future challenges in the Defence MRO sector.
RA: What are the key specialised activities of the Crown Group Defence’s Marine division?
Cmde RA: Our Marine division comprises of two companies, Dynatron Services Private Limited (Dynatron) and OSK India Private Limited (OIPL) which cater to the MRO & servicing needs of Operational Readiness of the Indian defence sector, particularly in the Marine sector.
Dynatron Services, which has been serving the Indian Navy and Coast Guard for more than four decades, provides ship repairs, general engineering maintenance, ship modernisation services, ship refits, marketing and after-sales support for mechanical and electronic systems. Apart from other projects, we have been supporting MRO activities for the Indian Navy’s only amphibious warship, procured from the United States, INS Jalashwa, and are also involved in providing support to India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya including other naval warships, submarines and aircrafts.
Dynatron Services has sole authorisation for repairs and maintenance of Gearboxes and thrusters from ZF Marine (Germany) and an exclusive partnership with Kubota Engines (Japan) coupled with Mase Generators (Italy), for providing MRO services to the Indian Navy.
OSK India has a state-of-the-art electronics repair facility in Mumbai specialising in the repair of electronic modules and weapon systems of international origin. We have recently repaired critical weapon equipment for the Indian Navy and are currently working on the subsequent order.
RA: What are the major challenges, which the Indian MRO companies face in India?
Cmde RA: The challenges Indian MRO companies face are first, the cyclic workload as it is not foreseeable and thereby leads to problems associated with creation of capacities and capabilities quickly. One of the main reasons for the low volume of MRO work in India is the fact that a number of platforms, which are available for the civil MRO industry, are technically quite rudimentary. It is anticipated that coming years would bring in better time for the Indian Marine industry, as large number of ships and submarines are being inducted by the Indian Navy, which would lead to greater volume of work for the MRO Industry. The government’s incentives of reduced taxation in the country would lower the cost of MRO services and thus make it attractive to both Indian and International naval and merchant marine ships to get repairs undertaken in India.
RA: Crown Group Marine MRO support facilities are located in which states in India?
Cmde RA: Crown Group Defence has set up six world-class facilities and workshops pan India for taking on specialised MRO and manufacturing activities based on customer requirements. We have one of the largest facilities in Karwar – Karnataka, which is Asia’s biggest Defence Naval Base, to undertake mechanical and electro-mechanical repairs, primarily for the Indian Navy. We have set up an electronics repair and manufacturing facility in OIPL Mumbai – Maharashtra, where we carry out repairs of complex weapon equipment, PCBs and electronic modules. In addition, we have two ship repair workshops in Chennai – Tamil Nadu and Vizag – Andhra Pradesh.
RA: Can you briefly describe about Dynatron & OIPL’s tie-ups with international and national OEMs?
Cmde RA: Dynatron has a long-term partnership with ZF Marine (Germany) and the sole authorisation for repairs and maintenance of gearboxes and thrusters from ZF Marine (Germany).
Dynatron also has an exclusive partnership with Kubota Engines (Japan) and Mase Generators (Italy) for sales and ongoing support. In a drive to support indigenisation of equipment for Indian naval ships and submarines, Dynatron has also tied up with WILO Pumps, one of the world’s leading premium providers of pumps and pump systems and Meru Pumps based out of Ahmedabad, helping them customise their products as per defence specifications.
At DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, OIPL has signed a major MoU with Meson Valves India Pvt. Ltd., which has appointed OIPL as its exclusive dealer for naval and marine valves and fittings in India and other countries. It will supply to: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (HDW Class Submarine refits and life extension projects), Goa Shipyard (Talwar Class Frigates only), Naval Dockyards in India and Defence exports outside India and meet other naval and marine requirements.
OIPL signed another MoU at DefExpo 2022 with Infinity Radar for development and marketing of below mentioned defence machinery and equipment jointly developed by both the parties, to: Military/Defence, Government and other law enforcement agencies, Marine, Navy and Coast Guard, for supply of; C-UAS & Anti Drone, Perimeter Security, Critical Infrastructure Monitoring, RF Systems/Sub-System Design & Development, Antenna Development, Long Range Threat Detection & Identification, Targeting System and Auto Tracking and Drivers Air of EO/IR solutions for autonomous Vehicles.
Dynatron at DefExpo has signed an exclusive Channel Partner MoU with Teignbridge Propellers India Pvt Ltd for providing a wide range of propellers and shafting to the mid and small segments of boats and crafts for the India market which includes all ship yards, government and other private organisations. Some of the Customers assigned by Teignbridge in India are: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Goa Shipyard Ltd, Cochin Shipyard Ltd., Hindustan Shipyard Ltd., Shalimar Works (1980) Ltd., and Titagarh Wagons Ltd.
RA: Why the various international defence OEMs chosen Dynatron and OIPL to partner with, in India?
Cmde RA: Basically, global OEMs are looking for organised players to help them maintain and service their equipment and provide quality service to their customers in India, they found it easy to partner with us because of our world class MRO facilities and workshops spread across India and experience in working with International OEMs.
Dynatron Services Private Limited (Dynatron) and OSK India Private Limited (OIPL) are one of the only organised and fully equipped players in India that are present across all the coastal cities, catering to the MRO and servicing of Indian naval ships, providing both Marine engineering and weapons system MRO support to Indian Navy and Coast Guard. They have fully functional state-of-the-art facilities in Karwar, Mumbai, Goa and Chennai.
In addition, for International OEMs, it is much more economical to partner with local players who already have facilities and understand the local business environment.
Global OEM’s also trust Crown Group’s core competency, which lies in its technical and professional team. Crown Group is one of the very few companies to have ex-servicemen from Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, right from the top level to mid and ground level, who bring their years of valuable experience to Crown Group Defence.
This puts Crown Group Defence in a strong position to support the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ by partnering with foreign OEMs in expanding the MRO base in India and taking forward the government’s vision under ‘Make in India’ programme.
RA: Apart from critical MRO services, does Crown Group Defence have any plans to start manufacturing of defence components and equipment in India?
Cmde RA: Crown Group has already established facilities and received orders for design and manufacturing of complex PCBs for specialised equipment in OIPL, Mumbai.
We are further working towards establishing indigenous manufacturing facilities for components and spares that have higher volumes or are categorised as consumables.
Keeping with government’s focus on promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing and positioning India as an exporter of military hardware, Crown Group’s focus is on indigenisation through both tie-ups with international OEMs and in-house research and development.
Crown Group’s focus is on indigenisation, MRO & manufacturing through both tie-ups with international OEMs and innovative activities in collaboration with various leading incubation centres in the country.
We are also engaging with academia across India to bring out technologically advanced solutions that will strengthen and modernise the Indian Defence sector. We have tied up with Amrita University to promote Defence R&D. We are also in advance talks for collaboration with IITs and other reputed Universities for various defence projects.
RA: Does Crown Group caters to the civil side of merchant shipping industry, also?
Cmde RA: Yes, the entire range of services which are currently being offered to Naval ships, apart from weapon system repairs and services, is also being offered to Merchant shipping industry. Both Dynatron and OIPL have MoU with International OEMs amongst which there are those whose product range falls in the dual use category (i.e. civil and defence). The product range of such companies consists of hydraulic systems, system valves, pumps, compressors etc. Thus, apart from undertaking services for foreign origin equipment of naval ships and submarines, merchant ship repairs can also be undertaken for various systems.
RA: How is Crown Group’s Marine division contributing to making India ‘Atmanirbhar’ in Defence MRO and manufacturing sectors?
Cmde RA: Crown Group Defence with a legacy of more than four decades has established itself as India’s leading defence MRO major, providing critical services to the Indian Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard through its various group companies and meets the recent Defence MRO requirements.
Leading the way in making India self-reliant in defence MRO and manufacturing, Crown Group Defence is establishing indigenous MRO and manufacturing facilities and forging technological tie-ups with international OEMs to provide critical services to Indian armed forces as their service and supply partner.
Motto of Crown Group Defence is to “Serve the Nation” by partnering with our defence forces to provide quality support. The Group has opened its MRO and manufacturing facilities to international companies to partner and leverage its facilities and capabilities for setting up MRO and manufacturing base in the country, keeping abreast with the ‘Make in India’ strategy, thereby leading to reduced timeframes for repair and enhanced operational availability of assets.
RA: What should the government do to boost the Indian Defence and Marine MRO sector?
Cmde RA: The maritime transport is the backbone of global trade and global economy. The maritime industry has grown rapidly over the years with the addition of ships to the national fleet and additionally private and government companies are making investments worldwide. The strength of the fleet has been increasing over the years to make India an attractive MRO hub.
Both the Indian Navy and the maritime sectors are on a growth path as shipbuilding continues to grow in the country. With India’s growth in naval strength and the merchant marine, the MRO sector is also on a growth path. To give a boost to the Marine MRO sector, the government needs to focus on reducing taxation, enable creation of MRO ecosystem and provide all due skill sets for handling efficient repairs.
With the creation of industrial clusters focussed on marine MRO, it would be possible to increase the industry’s scale and thereby make the Indian Maritime MRO economically viable. Continuous focus of the government for creation of such maritime clusters would enable in shifting the present leaders in MRO in the region i.e. Dubai and Colombo, to India.
RA: What are Dynatron and OIPL’s future expansion and growth plans for India?
Cmde RA: We are focusing on the MRO projects at hand, to establish authorised service centres with the required equipment and technically trained manpower to service the increasing MRO requirements. There is an ever-increasing need for indigenising such MRO activities, as it improves equipment availability and providing timely support at much lower costs.
The government’s ‘Make in India’ policy gives an impetus to undertake major repairs of warships and submarines within the country, which in earlier days, used to be done by sending to the countries of origin. With the envisaged growth, both the DSPL and OIPL are poised to scale up their operations by creating additional capacities and capabilities. The largest DSPL workshop at Karwar is being geared up to meet the additional requirement of workload of ZF Gear Boxes and Thrusters as also enhance the repair work in Chennai, Vizag and Port Blair. As far as OIPL is concerned, it intends to commence operations in Chennai and Vizag. We, thus, foresee a phenomenal growth in the activities and revenue of both DSPL and OIPL in the next five years.