DefExpo 2022 – The Largest Defence Exhibition in Asia Gets Off to a Flying Start

The vision behind DefExpo 2022 is to ‘Make in India, Make for the World’. The significance of the event can be judged by the fact that it holds the promise to catapult India among the leading nations in the defence & aerospace sectors in the next 2 to 5 years

By Neeraj Mahajan

Defexpo 2022

Gandhinagar. The wait is finally over. The much-awaited DefExpo 2022 tipped to be one of the largest international defence exhibitions in Asia and the world, originally scheduled to be held in March 2022, got off to a flying start at Gandhi Nagar, in Gujarat.

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The significance of this event can be judged by the fact that it holds the promise to catapult India among the leading nations in the defence & aerospace sectors in the next 2 to 5 years.

Addressing a press conference in Gandhinagar on October 17, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, DefExpo 2022 will showcase the growing prowess of the domestic defence industry, which is one of the major drivers of the nation’s resolve to achieve ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ as envisioned by the Prime Minister. The biennial exhibition has been organised to support, showcase and forge partnerships for the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sectors with Indian as well as global customers to achieve the overall objective of catering to domestic requirements while fulfilling the needs of friendly foreign countries.

Defence analysts are now anxiously waiting to hear what Prime Minister Modi has to say when he arrives in Gujarat for a two-day visit from 19-21 October. Among others, one of his main engagements will be a visit to the DefExpo22 being held exclusively for Indian companies including Indian subsidiaries of Foreign OEMs, Divisions of companies registered in India, and exhibitors having Joint ventures with Indian companies. The expo which aims to showcase Indian defence manufacturing prowess has an India Pavilion and ten state pavilions.

Addressing a press conference in Gandhinagar on October 17, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, DefExpo 2022 will showcase the growing prowess of the domestic defence industry, which is one of the major drivers of the nation’s resolve to achieve ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ as envisioned by the Prime Minister

In keeping with the overall objective, PM Modi will unveil HTT-40 indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and displayed at the India pavilion. The indigenously HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft developed by the HAL for the IAF boasts a speed of 450 km/hour, and a range of 1,000 kilometres in addition to a number of pilot-friendly features. The HAL HTT-40 (Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40) trainer aircraft will soon replace IAF’s outdated HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers.

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As part of his schedule, the Prime Minister will also launch Mission DefSpace –  an innovative solution for the Defence Forces in the Space domain through industry & startups and lay the foundation stone of Deesa airfield in Gujarat to strengthen the security architecture of the country.

Some of the other Defence Systems prominently displayed at the DefExpo 2022 include the following:

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  1. Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) a new 8X8 mobility vehicle developed by Larsen and Toubro a multi-billion-dollar Indian multinational – is slated to be formally unveiled at the Defence Expo 2022. These vehicles are going to be the mainstay of the Indian mechanized forces for a long time. To meet the requirement of Made in India FICVs for the Indian Armed Forces, Larsen & Toubro has established the country’s first private-sector Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) facility equipped with ‘high-end’ machinery at Hazira in Gujarat. The L&T manufacturing unit is fully equipped to make and test future infantry combat vehicles (FICV), self-propelled artillery howitzers, future-ready combat vehicles (FRCV) and future main battle tanks.
  2. Helicopter-Launched Stand-Off Anti-Tank (SANT) Missile ATGM (15-20 Kms). The missile reportedly an upgraded version of the Helina (Helicopter Launched Nag) missile has been developed by Imarat (DRDO’s research centre) in collaboration with the IAF. The SANT missile has a range of 15 to 20 km and is capable of locking on to a target both before and after being launched. Unlike other missiles of its class, the SANT missile can destroy targets from a long range and can perform extremely complex tasks before precisely hitting the target. SANT is one of the best airborne anti-armour-guided missiles in the world.
  3. Prachand Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) – a twin-engined 5.8-ton ‘light’ combat helicopter with a combat radius of 500 kilometres and capable of high-altitude warfare at a height of 16,000 to 18,000 feet. The indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter called ‘Prachand’, meaning fierce was formally inducted into the IAF early this month at the Jodhpur airbase.
  4. Gaurav Glide Bomb (1,000 Kg, 100 Kms) – a medium-range precision-guided weapon developed by various DRDO laboratories like Imarat, Hyderabad, DARE, Bengaluru, TBRL, Chandigarh and ARDE, Pune. The bomb can engage targets from outside the range of anti-aircraft defences, increasing aircraft survivability and minimising friendly losses.
  5. Rudram-III Anti-Radiation Missile – long-range Air to Surface missile system with a range of up to 550km. The RudraM-III, RudraM-II, RudraM-IIA, and RudraM-I are components of the Rudra family of Air to Surface missiles developed by DRDO and can be carried by all IAF fighters
  6. Amogha-III MPATGM – (Range: 200 – 2500m) third-generation fire-and-forget Anti-Tank Guided Missile.
  7. Nagastra-I loitering munitions – range 15km – also known as a suicide drone or kamikaze drone.
  8. SAMAR air defence system
  9. Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) Launcher – The QRSAM weapon system with elements like Battery Multifunction Radar, Battery Surveillance Radar, Battery Command Post Vehicle and Mobile Launcher is capable of detecting and tracking targets on the move and engaging targets with short halts. The system is designed to give air defence coverage against strike columns of the Indian Army. The missile system with active RF Seekers and Electro-Mechanical Actuation (EMA) systems is fully indigenous.
  10. Akash NG launcher – a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defence system developed by DRDO and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Bharat Electronics (BEL). It has a reaction time of 10 seconds from target acquisition to a single missile fire and can fire up to three missiles in 20 seconds.
  11. Paras Aerospace UCAV  (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) – equipped with AI technology, machinery and algorithms that can solve problems requiring human-like perception, cognition, planning, learning, communication, or physical action and carry out tasks under various unpredictable conditions with little to no human supervision.
  12. ‘Karn Kavach’ –for the Indian Soldier  –  The Indian Army is on the verge of inducting ‘Sarvatra Kavach’, a full body armour suit, for its soldiers that is designed, developed and manufactured in India
  13. Mounted Gun System
  14. Pralay Short-range Ballistic Missile

The Department of Defence Production – will showcase indigenous defence products, and the latest technology, including Artificial Intelligence in defence, while presenting India’s vision for 2047. The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Pavilion will showcase the country’s start-ups carrying out R&D and innovation in futuristic technologies.

HINDUSTAN AERONAUTICS LIMITED (HAL)

India’s biggest Defence Public Sector Undertaking HAL – will display more than 200 imported items being indigenised with the help of private industries as well as indigenous Fighter, Trainers, Helicopters, Transport Aircraft, Aero-Engines, Avionics, and Accessories at the 12th edition of DefExpo.

BHARAT ELECTRONICS LIMITED (BEL)

BEL will display Radars & Weapon Systems, Sonars, Communication, EWS, Electro-Optics and Tank Electronics.

BHARAT DYNAMICS LIMITED (BDL)

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) – a pioneer in the manufacture of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) will showcase its range of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, Surface Air Missiles, underwater weapons, decoys, test equipment and many more.

MISHRA DHATU NIGAM LIMITED (MIDHANI)

MIDHANI will showcase Titanium Valves and filters (used in Nuclear Submarines), Materials Supplied for PSLV and GSLV MK III, Nickel alloy and titanium alloy casting (Application in Space and naval), Forging facilities, Composite armour panels for helicopters as well as Bio Implants, and accessories used in orthopaedics, and dentistry.

MAZAGON DOCK SHIPBUILDERS LIMITED (MDL)

MDL will showcase many firsts in maritime security and display its latest Missile Destroyers, Stealth Frigates and Scorpene Submarines being produced for the Indian Navy.

GLIDERS INDIA LIMITED (GIL)

GIL – a pioneer in the field of Parachute manufacturing will showcase the pilot parachute-PSU-36 series 4-3 for SU-30 Aircraft, and indigenous P-7 Heavy Drop Platform from IL-76 to drop heavy loads under operational conditions.

TROOP COMFORTS LIMITED (TCL)

TCL will display Digital Combat Uniform with Antimicrobial & NIR Camouflaging properties for Hygiene wear & to protect detection form Night Vision Devices, as well as 7 Layer Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), Ballistic Resistant Products, a range of Tents, and Boots.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Defence analysts are now waiting to hear what PM Narendra Modi has to say when he arrives in Gujarat for a two-day visit from 19-21 October. PM Modi will unveil the HTT-40 indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with a speed of 450 km/hour, and a range of 1,000 kilometres in addition to many pilot-friendly features

DRDO will showcase several actual products including Border Surveillance System (BOSS), Laser Fence System (LFS), BrahMos Air Version Missile, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), Prahar Missile, Rudram III Missile, Quick reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) and Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) among others.

The private sector defence manufacturers will be represented by big names, both Indian as well as foreign OEMs, such as L&T, Adani Defence, Bharat Forge, Saab, Airbus, and Lockheed Martin as well as Domestic & Foreign Institutional Investors and Venture Capitalists.

One of India’s fastest-growing aerospace and defence (A&D) manufacturers — Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), also known as Tata A&D is exhibiting its Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System and Armoured Fighting Vehicle (Wheeled). The Tata Group’s history with the Defence sector goes back to the 1940s when the Group supplied armoured steel to support the World War II effort. Tata Motors is the first private sector OEM in India which has developed WhAP (Wheeled Armored Amphibious Platform), an Infantry Combat Vehicle, designed for optimised survivability, all-terrain performance and increased lethality jointly with the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Tata Motors has also developed the Light Armored Multi-role Vehicle (LAMV), a reconnaissance vehicle that combines vital operational prerequisites of mobility, protection and firepower in association with the Ordnance Factory Board. Further, through its fully owned subsidiaries – TAL Manufacturing Solutions (TAL), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Tata Technologies Ltd (TTL), Tata Motors has evolved to become a formidable force in the Defence Sector.

Larsen & Toubro’s to unveil Future Infantry Fighting Vehicle (FICV) at the Defence Expo 2022. L&T Defence is one of the country’s leading private-sector defence organisations and has been working in tandem with the Indian Armed Forces and DRDO to develop world-class defence solutions over the past 30-odd years. L&T will also be displaying a range of other futuristic defence equipment, and platforms made in India at the DefExpo2022. Artillery Systems (K9 Vajra-T, Trajan, Caesar), K9 Vajra-T, Sudarshan – Close-in Weapon System, Trajan, Pinaka MBRL, 40mm Air Defence Gun System and Sharang Remote Weapon Station. In addition to these, L&T is developing a number of other products like Counter Drone Systems, Fire Control Systems & Ballistic Solutions, Naval Weapon & Engineering Systems, Offshore Patrol Vessels, Coastal Radar Systems, Perimeter Surveillance Systems, Unmanned Land /naval Systems and Submarine Training Simulators.

-The writer is a seasoned media professional with over three decades of experience in print, electronic, and web media. He is presently Editor of Taazakhabar News