Tell us about your manufacturing capabilities and capacities. What are the different kinds of weapons that Punj Lloyd is capable of manufacturing?
The Punj Lloyd Group has strategically diversified into Defence & Aerospace and has established itself as a credible player for defence equipment with focus on state-of-the-art technology. Our aim is to indigenously develop genuine force multipliers that will contribute to providing a decisive edge to the Indian Armed Forces. We are developing capability and infrastructure, which can be effectively leveraged for defence programmes. Punj Lloyd has two facilities at Malanpur, Madhya Pradesh. Starting with the latest, Punj Lloyd and its JV partner set up, the country’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant in Malanpur, Madhya Pradesh on May 4, 2018. The joint venture company, Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems (PLR) will be manufacturing small arms for the Indian Defence Forces and also for export.
The second facility, Punj Lloyd’s first investment in manufacturing was made in 2012. The Manufacturing and Systems Integration facility, called MSID, was set-up to cater to the requirements of Defence and Aerospace. MSID is a world-class production facility with high-precision machines from Italy, France, US and Germany. The large bed machines are capable of working on huge components and exotic material and can manufacture components in a variety of sizes and complexities, meeting the rigorous standards and tight schedules of the Aviation and Defence industries.
Both the facilities are ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), ISO 18001 (OHSAS), ISO 50001 (Energy), AS9100 (Aerospace) certified.
Punj Lloyd Raksha, a joint venture of Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries manufactures small arms in India. We are the country’s first private sector company that has been granted license by MHA, Government of India for same. World renowned IWI weapons like Tavor and X95 Assault Rifle, Galil Sniper Rifle, Negev Light Machine Gun and UZI Sub Machine Gun are already in service with the Indian Armed Forces, CAPFs and State Police Forces. The company recently made India’s first ‘Made in India’ X-95 Rifle.
Since defence is a niche segment, has it been challenging to find the right talent in India? Do you have in-house training infrastructure and programmes to address this issue?
As one of the early private entrants into the defence business, we had the advantage of building our people capabilities. We have a fairly good mix of people from Armed Forces and the industry. We also hire fresh talent through NEEM, an apprenticeship scheme, and develop this talent to meet the requirement for defence business. As our machinery is highly advanced, we do face the challenge of hiring people capable of working on multiple machines and different makes, but we are able to address that through training and skill upgradation through trainings by our global partners or sending our teams to them.
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Working in the defence segment requires working with difficult materials as well as sophisticated machinery complying with various international codes and inspection requirements. How has Punj Lloyd built these capabilities in terms of equipment as well as know-how?
Punj Lloyd was a pioneer in setting up a dedicated private defence manufacturing facility. As a result, we invested in state-of-the-art machines way ahead of others. Punj Lloyd Manufacturing & Systems Integration Division (MSID) is a top of the line AS 9100 certified fabrication and assembly facility for defence systems in Gwalior on 65 acres of land, capable of machining, welding & fabrication of land system components, assembly, integration and testing of weapons, maintenance and repair facility for existing weapons of the Indian Army. The machinery, comprising high end imported machines, has the capability to process a multitude of material including exotic material such as Weldox, Armoured Steel, Titanium and Special Grade. Some of the equipment we have includes 5 Axes Double Column Gantry Machining Centre, 5 Axes Floor Type Machining Centre, 5 Axes Horizontal Machining Centre, 5 Axes Mill Turn, 4 Axes Turn Mill, Water Jet Cutting Machine, CAR Bottom Furnace, TIG/MIG Welding and Laboratory Equipment including CMM, Micro Hardness Tester, Spectrometer etc.
Do you have any kind of technical collaborations or partnerships with international companies? Tell us about the same.
Depending on the defence programmes we pursue, we enter into technical collaborations with reputed companies. Punj Lloyd has agreements with leading global primes for collaboration in Indian programmes for a wide range of products including artillery systems and air defence gun systems. As mentioned earlier, Punj Lloyd has a Joint Venture with IWI of Israel, world leader in innovative small arm systems.
What are the different challenges faced by the defence manufacturing sector in India? What more can the government do to improve the situation?
Long gestation period in defence has always been a deterrent. In the meanwhile, companies need to maintain and continuously upgrade their facilities and manage workforce. This capital-intensive nature of the defence business, of having to invest much before you actually receive an order is a big challenge.
What are your on-going programmes with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited?
We have multiple programmes with HAL. We are working on wing and engine components for Sukhoi aircraft other than components for Dornier.
Tell us about the various Indian Army programmes that you are currently working on?
We are working across a range of defence businesses including artillery, air defence, small arms and homeland security.