Around 25 km away from Hyderabad, a private manufacturer of advanced weapons systems has been operational since August 2017. On Tuesday, it announced the delivery of the first batch of 1000 midsection Medium-Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) to the Indian Armed Forces, an order worth US dollars 100 million.
Rudra B Jadeja, who helms the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), a joint venture between the Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd and Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, points out that the very first product to roll out of the facility was the SPICE-2000 bombs that were used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to strike terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, 2019.
In a significant order worth $30 million, more than 200 SPICE-2000 bombs have been sent out of this very facility. Of them, 80 per cent were for the Indian forces. In an interview with indianexpress.com, the CEO of KRAS spoke about the journey so far, programmes in the pipeline, Atmanirbharta, and goals set for the future.
Here are the excerpts.
You are touted as India’s first private missile production facility. Tell us about the journey thus far.
It has been fantastic though things haven’t gone as planned. The inception of this particular facility began with a very big programme called SPIKE-ATGM (anti-tank guided missile). India needed about 8000-plus missiles and we were supposed to manufacture about 200 missiles per month. Even if I make 200 per month, I am making 2,400 per year and it will take five years to make 8000-plus. I was very small, so we invested. Our partner Rafael had already gone six years before us to get things trial-evaluated, tested, commercials open, negotiations done by the government of India.
After the commercials opened, Rafael could not go ahead due to technical issues. So that’s why we (the joint venture) were established. But unfortunately it (the ATGM) had not happened yet.