Defence SMEs plan cluster in Pune

A Consortium led by the Defence Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA) is planning to set up a defence cluster in Pune, targeting a slice of the lucrative defence sector orders under the offset clause. DEMA, which comprises over 45 SMEs based in and around Pune, has set up a separate company, DEMA Mechatronics Technologies, with a share capital of Rs 75 lakh. This 15-member company will manufacture not just under the offset clause, but also products its members have developed indigenously. Under defence ministry norms, overseas contracts worth over Rs 300 crore require local sourcing that brings the 30% offset orders for domestic players. With defence contracts worth Rs 1.50 lakh crore in the offing, it provides a business opportunity of Rs 44,000 crore to Rs 45,000 crore for the domestic players in the next five years. However, companies have to scale up quickly to meet the defence ministry norms. Hence, DEMA Mechatronics Technologies will prefer land close to defence establishments. The plot under consideration is the Talegaon Ordnance Depot because it is close to the industrial areas of Talegaon, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Chakan. DEMA president DS Kamlapurkar said that they can produce two items developed by member companies. These products, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and fuses used in armament, were first announced two years ago. “The UAV is a battery-operated vehicle, with a range of 10 km. It can operate at an altitude of 1.5 km, reach a speed of 70 km/hour and carry a payload of 10 kg. With these specifications, an imported UAV would cost around Rs 1.5 crore. We can manufacture the same for Rs 45 lakh,” Mr Kamlapurkar said. A prototype of the product is ready and will be commissioned by December. Its design has been validated. Five DEMA members are involved in the project. Moreover, none of the more expensive imported UAVs can guarantee operations at 10,000 feet, which the newly developed UAV has demonstrated in the Lahaul-Spiti area.

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