Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), a joint venture between Kalyani Group and Israeli defence equipment giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, announced that it has received its first major order worth $100 million from overseas partner Rafael to make Barak 8 missile kits.
The order is to produce 1,000 units of Barak 8 MR-SAM missile kits over the next four years to be supplied to India’s state-run defence manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) for further integration.
Addressing the media in Hyderabad on Thursday, Kalyani Group chairman Baba Kalyani said the first Indian private defence sector firm to receive one of the largest foreign direct investments was also looking at expanding facilities in Hyderabad.
He said that KRAS is currently in talks with the Telangana government for setting up a second facility in Hyderabad over around 100 acres for integration and indigenisation. The joint venture already has a anti-tank guided missile production facility in the city.
“As we keep expanding our production, we will expand our capabilities, facilities, talent pool that we have, which will happen as we move forward,” he said.
Termed the development as a testimony to the capabilities that now exist within the Indian private defence sector, Kalyani said, “Going forward, in line with the government of India’s commitment to promote defence exports from India, Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems shall be actively engaged in taking the manufacturing and supply of some of the most advanced systems from Rafael’s portfolio to friendly nations from here in Hyderabad/India.”
The chairman said the joint venture would also look at directly bidding for domestic defence orders on achieving further maturity with the help of Rafael. “We also plan to leverage the engineering expertise of the existing KRAS team towards integration of weapons on platforms, for example, the Derby Mark III, a beyond-visualrange air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on India’s light combat aircraft (LCA) and the long range guided bomb (LRGB) Make II programs on various aircrafts,” he said.
The joint venture has already started offering the product life cycle support services for LLQRM (low-level quick reaction missile) systems to the Indian Air Force, he said.
Brigadier General (retired) Pini Yungman, Rafael’s executive vicepresident and general manager of the air and missile defence systems division, said the joint venture has invested in top-notch production facilities with state-of-the-art technologies from Rafael. “We want to see KRAS delivering the systems to the Air Force, Navy, and Army,” he said, adding that KRAS is aiming to emerge as a private missile hub in the region and set up services and support centres near the deployments.
Col Rajinder Bhatia, CEO of Bharat Forge Defence and Aerospace, part of Kalyani Group, said production of missile kits will begin sometime from fourth quarter of this year to deliver the orders in three-and-a-half-years.
The two-year-old Indo-Israeli joint venture has supplied certain critical components for the missiles used in the airstrikes earlier this year by the Indian Army, said Bhatia, indirectly referring to the surgical strikes carried out by the Army in February at Balakot. He added that the joint venture has already started exporting components to certain friendly nations and had exported components worth around $15 million last year.
KRAS will look at exporting over $20 million of sub-systems from this year, he said.