M&M dives into underwater products & defence systems

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Mahindra and Mahindra, India’s largest utility vehicles and tractor manufacturer, is now foraying into making underwater weapons and defence systems for warships.

The company aims to establish a leadership position in India’s rapidly expanding private defence industry.

“We have entered the critical defence sector for the long haul to build technologies, competencies, and capabilities,” Anand Mahindra, chairman at the $17.7 billion Mahindra group, said.

The Mumbai-based multinational on Tuesday opened its new manufacturing facility for underwater systems and naval applications in Chakan industrial area near Pune. Due to the sensitive nature of manufacturing defence components, systems and processes, it declined to disclose investment figures or project business growth.

“Defence technology, systems and processes cannot be built without private sector participation,” Mahindra said. He said the new facility would produce world-class products and will be second to none.

“At Mahindra’s, we always start small, measuring each step but that step is the beginning of a long journey,” he quipped. He said the new facility, with a research and development centre, enhanced the company’s advanced manufacturing expertise in naval defence systems.

This new facility will produce, among other things, decoy launchers, rocket launchers, missile containers, unmanned underwater vehicles, composite warheads, torpedo and missile-loading gear, torpedo launchers and their components, special carbon fibre products, fuses for naval rockets and bombs, transportation and storage containers and special composite products for submarines.

“With the new state-of-the-art facility of Mahindra Defence Naval Systems, (MDNS), we will now provide complete critical solutions to the troika of army, navy and air force,” SP Shukla, president – group strategy and defence sector at Mahindra Group, said. “We are the only enterprise in the private sector in the country catering to all three wings of the armed forces,” he said.

Last month, Mahindra entered into a joint venture with the American Telephonics Corporation and opened Mahindra Telephonics, the first private sector aerospace and electronics joint venture manufacturing facility in Prithla, Faridabad. Telephonics Corporation is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of high-technology integrated information, communication and sensor system solutions for military and commercial markets worldwide and a subsidiary of the Griffon Corporation.

“This facility will develop and manufacture leading-edge radar technology,” Shukla said. The range of radar systems for the use of air force would have different capabilities and detecting capacities, he said. The company also produces a range of special armoured vehicles such as Axe, Marksman, Mine Protected Vehicle and Rakshak for the army at this purpose-built special military vehicles (SMV) facility. The company declined to disclose investments at the Prithla facility citing the sensitive nature of business.

“The Chakan facility will supply various types of launchers for ships, as well as systems and components to customers other than the Indian Navy,” Samir Advani, vice president at strategic business development at Mahindra Defence Systems, said.

He said these advanced launchers are fitted on board certain frontline warships of the navy. “These are developed in-house and are fully indigenised,” Devendra Bhatnagar, chief executive at Mahindra Defence Naval Systems, said.


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