Baba Kalyani, chairman and managing director of Bharat Forge Ltd. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Kalyani Group Eyes New Opportunities In Defence

Baba Kalyani is eyeing opportunities in manufacturing jet turbo engines and drones for the Indian defence market in addition to artillery guns that it is making for the army.

The Pune-based company supplies jet engines that are used in tanks and is looking to develop engines that can be used for helicopters, Baba Kalyani, chairman at Bharat Forge Ltd., part of the Kalyani Group, said in an interaction with the media at Aero India. “In their life, helicopters require at least three engines, and that opens up a big opportunity for us,” he said, but added his group won't get into aero structures and aerospace.

“We want to stick to our strengths,” said Kalyani. “We are strong in metallurgy, forging area and will ensure we play to our strengths.”

The Kalyani group entered defence manufacturing seven years ago through Kalyani Strategic Systems. The group is making advanced towed artillery guns for the Army. These are under user trial. Once complete and inducted, the Kalyani Group will have to supply 150. It also makes and exports aero defence systems to Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

The group had a revenue of Rs 500 crore from defence, with exports accounting for 20 percent. In the last few years, it has increased its spends on Research and Development. “We now spend in double digits on R&D,” Kalyani told BloombergQuint.

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He said the environment has changed in the last five years for private sector defence players. There is good engagement between the industry and the Defence Research and Development Organisation in designing and developing products, said Kalyani. The defence forces realise since the lifecycle of the products is being 25-40 years, only domestic players can supply parts on a continuous basis, according to Kalyani.

By 2025, a large part of the army's requirement will be made in India and the domestic industry will be able to fulfill these needs, he said.

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