Developing Solutions Indigenously
Amandeep Singh, Head—Defence, Ashok Leyland, says the ‘Make in India’ initiative and opening up of Defence sector to Indian Private sector has opened door of opportunities.
How is India’s emphasis on defence manufacturing encouraging Ashok Leyland?
Ashok Leyland has been the largest supplier of logistics vehicles to Indian Armed Forces since over last the two decades. However, for other mobility requirements, most of the vehicles were imported. With the ‘Make In India’ initiative and opening up of Defence sector to Indian Private sector Industry we got an opportunity to get into special role vehicles also like Gun towers, Rocket Launchers, High Mobility Vehicles, Ambulances, etc. We indigenously developed solutions and won most of the tenders for these and have been executing these orders over the last two years. There still exists a
large potential not only in wheeled vehicles but also tracked vehicles which we are gearing up to address.
Can you please tell us about some of the prestigious projects that you are undertaking in this sector?
Over the last 3-4 years, we have got several prestigious Projects which we have executed and some under execution. High Mobility vehicles 8x8, Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher 6x6 Vehicles, FAT 6x6 for Gun towing application, 4x4 Ambulances, Missile Carrying vehicles and Tractors, Light Bullet Proof Vehicles for IAF, 10x10 Smerch Rocket Carriers are few of them. Apart from Armed forces, we are also supplying Bulletproof vehicles to Police Forces for internal security and counter-insurgency operations.
Research and development plays an important role in the manufacturing sector. Tell us about your R&D efforts?
Ashok Leyland is focused on Mobility Solutions in Defence. We have a state-of-the-art Technical Center near Chennai, perhaps the best in this part of the world, where we develop indigenous solutions for all mobility requirements of Indian Armed Forces, DRDOs and
Ordnance Factories. We are the only vehicle manufacturer in India who has indigenously designed, developed and manufactured Engines beyond 350 HP. We also have a dedicated R&D team of over 100 Engineers who work only on Defence Specific Requirements like All wheel drives ranging from 4x4 to 12x12, Transfer cases & DropBox, Centralised Tyre Inflation systems, Self-Recovery Winches, Armouring solutions, Turrets, Gun Mounts, Suspension Lock, etc.
How do you foresee Indian market in the defence manufacturing sector growing in the coming five years?
India has one of the largest armies in the world, we are the largest importer of Defence equipment and unfortunately, we are geographically located in a volatile zone. Also, in line with our aspirations to be a Super Power in coming time our Defence requirements, especially ones that can be developed and produced indigenously, are only going to go up. Ashok Leyland is proud to be a trusted supplier of Indian Armed Forces over last so many years and have experience of not only supplying but more importantly maintaining these equipment over their life cycle. We have a clear focus on Mobility solutions and have the capability for in house design and development of these. All this gives us a very good competitive edge which has been evident in our Tender win and execution record.