ADTL Stands Committed to Build Atmanirbhar Bharat

By Editor 2021

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“Majority of our products are derivatives of Government of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Program, based on high Indigenous Content (more than 50%).New initiatives of MoD, based on Make-2 Projects, IDDM / IDEX Programs have given new boost to indigenous R&D.DRDO’s initiatives like DCPP projects augur well for Indian Industries,” said Col. H S Shankar, (Retd), CMD, Alpha Design Technologies Limited (ADTL). In an interview with Aeromag, he talks about the latest updates of the company’s business operations.

Over the last one and a half decade ADTL has become a leading player in Defence Electronics, Avionics & Space Satellites systems in India.  What are the major milestones in the success journey and what are some of the achievements?

I would list the major milestones in our journey of starting a company with just 3 people to 1500 strong force is, probably, a fine achievement by itself.  In this journey, I can lay stress on our strong in-house R&D, establishment of successful export oriented JVC our jump start to Space domain are the major milestones.

PM Narendra Modi recently said that the decision to open up India’s space sector has heralded a new age of public-private partnership.  How do you look at the untapped potential and what are the opportunities?

He is very right.  There is so much potential in Space sector.  ISRO has been developing Private Industries as sub-contractors / vendors for past 30 + years.  But now a new focus has been given to make private sector industries part of their programs and to manufacture not only modules / sub-assemblies but also complete systems.  There is an opportunity in satellites ground receiving stations, launchers and critical technologies – waiting for private sector to tap it.

ADTL has signed the first of two-phase defence contracts, together worth Rs. 753 crore, with the Ministry of Defence and Russia’s RAC MiG to build, own and maintain two types of simulators for fighter aircraft.  Could you share more details of the project?

ADTL has signed the Contract together with MoD & RAC MiG for establishing MiG-29 UPG Aircraft Simulator Centre at Adampur air field on BOM (Build, Operate & Maintain) basis for a period of 20 years.  This is a great initiative by MoD & IAF so that high end Simulators are not only established but also run by private industry, so that IAF personnel – who would otherwise have run the Simulators – are utilized for other more important / operational duties.

ADTL will be upgrading and digitizing 16 of the Soviet Era Pechora missile and radar systems which are presently in operation under a contract worth Rs. 591 crore.  What are the highlights of the project?

This is a unique project.  The old war horse Pechora Radar & Missile System is now more than 25 + years.  Technology is of 1980 Vintage – with valve version equipment and outmoded hardware / software.  These are all being replaced with present day electronics, new Radar Transmitter, IR Tracker, new communication links, upgradation of missile launcher, hardened new software, replacement of all obsolesces cause items.  It is a great challenge and an excellent opportunity too.  ADTL won the project in competition with giant PSUs like BEL & ECIL whose prices were more than twice ADTL’s prices.

How strong is the export operations of ADTL and who all are the major clients?  Could you briefly talk about the major products in export business?

Our exports are about 60% of our turnover and the base for this is Direct Offsets.  Our major clients are Elbit and IAI in Israel and Russian Industries.  Products we export are Thermal Imager Based Sights, Fire Control Systems, Tactical Communication equipment, Radars, etc.,

How does ADTL support the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and what are the activities in this regard?  Could you talk about ADTL’s association with DPSUs for promoting indigenization?

Majority of our products are derivatives of Government of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Program, based on high Indigenous Content (more than 50%).  New initiatives of MoD, based on Make-2 Projects, IDDM / IDEX Programs have given new boost to indigenous R&D.  DRDO’s initiatives like DCPP projects augur well for Indian Industries.

The Company has been planning and establishing a series of subsidiaries and Joint Venture Companies (JVCs) to cater for niche areas with technologically well established companies abroad.  Could you shed some light onto ADTL’s activities in this regard?

ADTL was the first to establish a JVC in India during 2003 itself – when Vajpayee Government opened FDI up to 26%.  This JVC has now been converted to a 49% (FDI) 51% (Indian) Equity Company called Alpha – Elsec Defence & Aerospace Systems Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore.  90% of its turnover is by Exports.  The JVC specializes in UAVs, II based Sights & Fire Control Systems, Passive Surveillance Systems, etc.

How did the Covid-19 affect the operations of the Company?  What are the business goals and expansion plans for the post-pandemic period?

There were disruptions due to Covid-19 from mid-March to September 2020.  Ours as also our own Indian Partner Companies, Tier 2 / 3 MSMEs did suffer.  However, due to series of incentive schemes announced by the Finance Minister to help industries and the support given by MoD in quickly clearing series of Atmanirbhar Bharat Programs have helped all Indian industries to bounce back.  All of us are now working 24 X 7 to ensure that each one of the industry meet our yearly targets in spite of the disruption for about 6 months.  Our R&D, production engineers and technicians as also our sub-contractors have risen to the occasion to ensure success.

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