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HYDERABAD

Kalyani Rafael JV begins MRSAM missile kits delivery to armed forces

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Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), a joint venture of Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has begun delivery of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) kits to the Indian Army and the Air Force.

The roll-out, from the Hyderabad facility, is part of the $100 million order it bagged in 2019. While it has committed to deliver 1,000 such kits, the time frame of the deliveries will depend on other development efforts, CEO Rudra B Jadeja said. DRDO is the custodian of the missile programme and Bharat Dynamics (BDL) the integrator.

“We will supply through Rafael to BDL,” he said, adding the kit is Rafael Advanced Systems design.

The first lot is 100% Rafael design output and the indigenous content is not more than 30%.

KRAS is working with partners in India to increase the share to 50% by the time 250 kits are supplied and 60% when 500 kits are delivered.

Certifying partners

It has already started certifying partners. “We are already investing with our partners in the supply chain… have approximately 14 vendors in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Belgaum, Chennai and Delhi,” he said, estimating $50-60 million orders to be placed with the firms.

Speaking to media, after a function to handover the first batch of the MRSAM kit to Indian armed forces, Mr.Jadeja said this is second product from the plant that was established in 2017 to make Anti Tank Guided Missile. But with government of India deciding to entrust ATGM programme to DRDO, the company took up production of Spice 2000 (guided bombs).

The firm has delivered more than 200 Spice 2000 to India and also exported. The value of the order was $30 million and several Indian firms were partners in the programme.

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Executive vice president and Head of Air and Missile Defence Systems division of Rafael Brig Gen (retired) Pinhas Yungman said KRAS is keen on exporting the MRSAM kits. A release said KRAS is focused on the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the state-of the-art weapon systems being inducted by the defence forces. It also wants to focus on Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) segment.

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President and CEO (Defence) of Bharat Forge Rajinder Bhatia and Mr.Jadeja highlighted the R&D facilities established in Hyderabad, including the training provided to engineers on RF and microwave.

Second unit in TS

To queries on KRAS’ plans for another unit in Telangana, Mr.Jadeja said the State government is assisting the company in identify suitable area, “which meets our requirement.” But in the backdrop of the pandemic and its impact, the company, while being ready to invest on another facility, is waiting for “right orders and right environment” to move ahead with the plans. The next plant is unlikely to happen this year, he added.

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