Reliance Unmanned Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Augur Overseas Operation of Singapore to manufacture Aerostats and Airships in India.
Augur Overseas Operation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Augur Aeronautical Centre (AAC).
This is a natural extension of earlier teaming agreement between Augur Aeronautical Centre with Pipavav Defence, a company that has been acquired by Anil Ambani led Reliance Group. Augur Aeronautical Centre is a leading Aerostat and Airship designer, builder and supplier globally.
This is part of strategic technical partnership to collaborate on new technologies both for the Civil and Military market as part of ´Make in India´ policy. Under the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture company with Reliance having 51% stake, consistent with the current Government regulations.
The Joint Venture will be involved in development, production, sales, modification and life support for different sizes of Aerostats, Airships and Lighter than air systems. This JV will address the requirements of domestic market and also addressable Regional/Global markets.
As part of the existing arrangement, the first medium size Aerostat envelope was delivered recently. This was after successful acceptance tests were performed at Pipavav facilities. The tests included integration and simulated mooring; verification of equipment and functioning of Aerostat envelope together with pressurization system. In the present changing security scenario in the Indian context, the borders require constant monitoring as the country has a 7000 km coast line with almost 14,000 km long international border with various countries. Aerostat radars are a force multiplier as they are deployed extensively in the surveillance, reconnaissance and communication roles by the armed forces. These are also useful in detecting low-flying fighter aircraft. As per the latest market research report the aerostat market is projected to rise from INR 25,000 Cr in 2014 to INR 65,000 Cr by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 17%.
The present estimated requirement by the Armed Forces including the paramilitary forces is estimated to be around 40 systems in the next 5 years with an estimated expenditure in excess of INR 12,000 Cr to meet its operational roles.
In natural disasters and other situations where infrastructure is non-existent, the Aerostats could be used to bring in emergency supplies: food, water, blankets. Recently Aerostats has seen a sharp rise in the tourism industry which is expected to be around INR 6000 Cr.
Major players in this field include TCOM-LP, Lockheed Martin, along with AAC.
With the indigenous Aerostat program fully operational, India would join a select group of nations having developed such capabilities, including US, Germany and France.
Reliance Infrastructure Ltd
Vivek Devastali, General Manager (Corporate Communications), Near Devidas Lane Tel Exchange, Devidas Lane, Borivali (West), Mumbai-400103, Maharashtra.
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