Tata Advanced Systems, Lockheed Martin Joint Venture TLMAL to Accelerate Manufacturing in India

Defence Industry

Hyderabad: Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Lockheed Martin, is seeing growth opportunities through its operations in Hyderabad, at a time when Central government is bringing defence reforms in terms of defence procurement, pushing indigenous manufacturing and increasing foreign direct investment (FDI).

Sharing the near-term outlook, Abhay Paranjape, chief operating officer, Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures, said, “we are already engaged in additional manufacturing for fighters and helicopters in Hyderabad. This will accelerate more by the end of 2020. Once the new defence procurement procedure (DPP) is finalised, there will be more clarity on investment opportunities.”

“As a company, we are going to see disruptive innovations in our operations through Industry 4.0. We are going to use robotics in our Hyderabad facility for things that were done manually, earlier. This will provide leverage in competing worldwide with companies that require the precision,” he added.

The company is also developing F-16 wings at its facility. It expects a capacity to make three to four wings a month in the steady state.

Talking about the ecosystem in the State, Paranjape said, Telangana has an advantage as it has a right mix of private industry in Adibatla cluster and in the GMR Aerospace Park, as well as the presence of public sector units and research labs headed by DRDO and MIDHANI.

“Possibilities for Telangana are vast and the challenges can be turned into opportunities. The State is rightly poised to reap opportunities both in the manufacturing and research & development,” he said.

Paranjape observes that the recent DPP aims at time-bound procurement. Delays in procurement have been plaguing the Indian defence procurement system for years and that has been one of the major hurdles for industry to go and participate in the procurement process. With the time-bound procurement process, there will be a lot of interest in the industry, globally, to try and see how they can participate in the defence procurement.

There will also be another trend, ‘buy global but make in India’, which will make global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to look at setting up their manufacturing base in India. These developments will open up new doors for the indigenous industry in the country.

From the technology point of view, he said, “new materials are coming in for all sorts of platforms and products. Composites are getting more and more prevalent in structures. Smart structures are coming through that give stealth to aircraft. The man-machine interface is going through radical changes. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are being increasingly used. India is poised to take advantage of all these developments.”

Smart network systems are also offering new ways of operations, both in terms of on-ground as well as the systems in air. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and networking are going to make a significant impact. Industry 4.0 will bring a new change in defence manufacturing, Paranjape noted.