The world’s biggest aerospace and defence company, Lockheed Martin, on Friday announced it had signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with three Indian start-ups — Terero Mobility, Sastra Robotics, and NoPo Nanotechnologies.
These companies, which will now be mentored by Lockheed Martin to integrate into its global supply chain, were identified through the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP), an innovation contest through which the US firm identifies Indian research and development (R&D) potential.
Lockheed Martin has announced it expects Terero Mobility to work on the design, development, test and qualification of a cargo ground buildup system (CGBS), which will handle cargo delivered by air force transport aircraft at remote locations without ground handling facilities.
The CGBS concept was developed through a Lockheed Martin-sponsored R&D project at IIT-Madras. The US company says it will provide “system engineering support and mentoring to Terero Mobility to enable them to develop and deliver a vehicle that is capable of transport by C-130 and similar platforms”.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin says NoPo Nanotechnologies will work on qualifying Carbon nanotubes to provide electromagnetic interference and lightning protection. If it is successful, the Indian firm will become a supplier to Lockheed Martin and its Tier-1 vendors.
Sastra Robotics will work on robots for avionics testing of systems such as the avionics display of tactical fighter platforms, including the F-21 fighter that Lockheed Martin hopes to supply the Indian Air Force (IAF). Successful qualification would enable Sastra Robotics to be a supplier to Lockheed Martin and its Tier-1 vendors.
“We are delighted to have identified, through the IIGP, three inspiring start-ups that we perceive potential to collaborate with on a global scale. We envision our intended partnership with them to enhance the platforms and programmes we’re developing, especially the solutions we wish to offer India,” said Phil Shaw, who heads Lockheed Martin in India.
Lockheed Martin this week held an “aerospace suppliers conference” in New Delhi, to identify Indian firms that could manufacture components, sub-systems and systems.
If the firm’s F-21 fighter is selected by the IAF in an ongoing tender for 114 multi-role fighters, Lockheed Martin will be required to meet a stiff 40-50 per cent indigenisation requirement while building the F-21 in India.
Lockheed Martin has already tied up with Tata Advanced Systems. The two companies jointly produce a range of aerospace products, including Sikorsky helicopter cabins, at a joint facility in Hyderabad.