HAL to focus on patents and intellectual properties

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on February 18, 2015

T Suvarna Raju (second left) with ministers at a seminar at NIMHANS Convention Centre V SREENIVASA MURTHY

T. Suvarna Raju, Chairman

Chairman says the aim is ensure that HAL grows as a knowledge-based organisation

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is one of the best examples that align with ‘Make-in-India’ endeavour of the government of India. The company under the leadership of its chairman, T Suvarna Raju, is fast moving from a manufacturing to that of a technology driven company. T Suvarna Raju, shares his views with BusinessLine on HAL’s future and its participation at Aero India.

HAL is moving from being purely a manufacturing company to tech-focused company. Can you elaborate more on the strategy?

I firmly believe that the best of technologies can never be bought, they can only be developed and our efforts therefore would be to ensure that HAL grows as a knowledge-based organisation.

Currently, HAL is concentrating on design and development of various indigenous products such as trainers, helicopters, mini-UAVs and engines. We are also giving more importance to research and development (R&D) as a result of which many technology development projects are being launched in-house and also in collaboration with premier institutes. Our focus is also on patents and intellectual property rights (IPR).

HAL’s R&D expenditure over the last five years was around 6-8 per cent of the turnover. We have now created an R&D corpus which will be 10 per cent of operating profit after tax (PAT). This amount would be spent on R&D and for developing indigenous technologies and thereby contribute to “Make in India” efforts.

Could you give us an overview on HAL’s participation at Aero India 2015.

Regarding Aero India 2015, HAL’s indoor pavilion is spread over an area of over 1,200 square meters. The display focuses on ‘Evolution of HAL as a Centre of Excellence of Aviation R&D and technology over 75 years of its existence’. HAL would be showcasing its rich and diverse heritage and technical competence built over the years through collaborations and indigenous capabilities. We paved the way for ‘Made in India in Aviation’ since the early 50’s.

HAL’s indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will be on flying display during Aero India 2015. Advanced Light Helicopter – Weapon System Integration (ALH-WSI) Rudra, ALH Skid Utility (for customer demonstration), LCH and Light Combat Aircraft (SP1) will be part of the static display.

The full-scale model of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) designed and developed by HAL would be on display at the outdoor. This utility platform is a single-engine multipurpose helicopter in the three-tonne class. The helicopter is designed to perform various roles like policing, urban surveillance, medical ambulance etc. State-of-the art technologies and systems are being integrated in LUH for catering to emerging needs in this class of helicopter for the next three to four decades. Design concepts adopted in the LUH make it a versatile platform, meeting various needs of both military and civil sectors.

As a proactive step HAL has offered Hawk cockpit upgrade to its customers. The customer can now have a live feeling of cockpit controls on a full scale simulator. HAL’s focus would be to showcase itself as a single window solution provider for platforms produced by it both for rotary and fixed wing.

Our growing partnership in India’s space programme would also be showcased where visitors could experience a feel of the Martian surface on Earth.

In this aero-show, HAL would also project itself as a company actively pursuing development and production of UAVs (mini and micro) through collaborations with defence laboratories, academia, and its own design. These UAVs are designed and developed by HAL keeping the futurist needs and emerging requirement of military, para-military, police and civil sectors.

Some of the salient technologies that would be on display include 25 KN engines, ALH blade folding, glimpses of digital manufacturing of LUH, 3D printing technology, automatic flight control systems, smart radios and upgraded avionics for various platforms.

In addition, HAL will be having several business meets with its key partners and other interested parties from different parts of the world.

Government of India is propagating 'Make in India', how does it impact HAL and the industry on the whole?

I believe that our government’s ‘Make in India’ drive will boost indigenous production of defence equipment. The increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector to 49 per cent would be a definite enabler.

I must also tell you that HAL’s initiative in indigenous development for self-reliance and ‘Make in India’ goes back to 1950s. Indigenous design of aircraft was identified as a key factor to the growth of the company from its early years. Aircraft, indigenously designed and developed by HAL in the last seven decades, are categorized as fighter, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), helicopters. We hope to continue with our experience and contribute to the ‘Make in India’ efforts of the government through co-production and co-designing.

What is the level of HAL's exports? Have the orders been increasing during and after Aero India shows?

Our export efforts take place on a sustained basis through-out the year. Overall, HAL's export has seen a steady growth over a period of time and the company is aiming to consolidate its position by leveraging its capabilities. HAL is currently exporting its products and services in the aerospace and defence sector to more than 20 countries. You must be aware that in the past HAL has supplied Dhruv, Lancer, Chetak, Cheetah helicopters and Do-228 aircraft to international customers. The company is also providing product support and training programmes for these platforms besides supporting MiG aircraft in service with international customers.

The company has established its credibility through supply of high precision structural and composite work packages and assemblies to global aviation majors like Airbus for A-320, Boeing for B-777, IAI for G-150, Honeywell etc. Follow-on orders from these major aircraft majors reaffirm customer confidence in HAL's export performance in terms of quality, delivery and reliability.

Our dedicated efforts towards enhancing export market potential through various strategic initiatives include exploiting offset business opportunities, strategic business alliances and establishing dedicated facilities exclusively with specific Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to meet stringent international quality standards.

Published on February 18, 2015

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