HAL’s Expansion into Avionics Offers New Indian Offset Options
Government-owned Indian defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has launched a $12 million Strategic Electronics Manufacturing facility spread across 196 acres in Kasargod in the southern state of Kerala. It will produce advanced avionics for aircraft and helicopters. The facility is the manufacturing extension of HAL’s Hyderabad-based R&D unit for avionics–the Strategic Electronics Research and Design Center.
The new factory will make airborne special purpose systems, such as mission computers, display processors and radar computers for the Russian MiG-27 and Su-30 combat aircraft, and the Indian light combat aircraft (LCA). AIN has learned that a second-phase development of the new facility will start early next year. This will focus on indigenous projects such as the Software-defined radio and interrogate friend-or-foe (IFF) Mark XII. But it will also get involved in major defense acquisition projects, including the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA); electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and electronic warfare suites; the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA); multi-role transport aircraft (MTA); light utility helicopter (LUH); light combat helicopter (LCH), medium-lift helicopter (MLH) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
HAL’s new facilities will offer offset options to overseas OEMs. India’s defense procurement policy states that vendors can transfer technology to government institutions “engaged in manufacture and/or maintenance of eligible products and provision of eligible services.”
“Integration of software, hardware and firmware may be out of HAL’s realm for the moment and is likely to create some roadblocks on the way,” a domestic vendor cautioned. But HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi said the new facility would eventually lead to a “self-sustained independent division doing production and maintenance work for avionics and software-defined radios. The new factory…will help HAL take a big leap in aerospace equipment manufacturing.”