Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAL’s Expansion into Avionics Offers New Indian Offset Options


An Indian engineer performs a bench test of some avionics equipment. Government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. is expanding its avionics capabilities. (Photo: HAL)
November 23, 2012, 7:20 AM
Government-owned Indian defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has launched a $12 million Strategic Electronics Manufacturing facility spread across 196 acres in Kasargod in the southern state of Kerala. It will produce advanced avionics for aircraft and helicopters. The facility is the manufacturing extension of HAL’s Hyderabad-based R&D unit for avionics–the Strategic Electronics Research and Design Center.
The new factory will make airborne special purpose systems, such as mission computers, display processors and radar computers for the Russian MiG-27 and Su-30 combat aircraft, and the Indian light combat aircraft (LCA). AIN has learned that a second-phase development of the new facility will start early next year. This will focus on indigenous projects such as the Software-defined radio and interrogate friend-or-foe (IFF) Mark XII. But it will also get involved in major defense acquisition projects, including the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA); electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and electronic warfare suites; the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA); multi-role transport aircraft (MTA); light utility helicopter (LUH); light combat helicopter (LCH), medium-lift helicopter (MLH) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
HAL’s new facilities will offer offset options to overseas OEMs. India’s defense procurement policy states that vendors can transfer technology to government institutions “engaged in manufacture and/or maintenance of eligible products and provision of eligible services.”
“Integration of software, hardware and firmware may be out of HAL’s realm for the moment and is likely to create some roadblocks on the way,” a domestic vendor cautioned. But HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi said the new facility would eventually lead to a “self-sustained independent division doing production and maintenance work for avionics and software-defined radios. The new factory…will help HAL take a big leap in aerospace equipment manufacturing.


  1. HARADHAN CHAKRABORTYNovember 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    My sympathies lie with HAL.
    HAL has already got two Avionics plants one in Hyderabad and the other in Korwa (Amethi) in UP.
    Both are producing state of the art Avionics products fitted on all of HAL's modern aircraft including Sukhoi 30 aircraft.So why another new plant?
    When you start a modern state of the art Avionics plant and also aspire to ultimately design and develop comparable products you require one critical ingredient that is good Avionicd design and manufacturing personnel.
    HAL has been struggling to post personnel and retain capable design people as the dusty town of Amethi offers little in the way of satisfying
    professional and family life and schooling.
    HAL Korwa (Amethi) was started twenty five years ago on the insistence of the late Sanjay Gandhi and his mother on their home turf.Being a Min of Defence company the maagement had no choice but to buckle in, when this excellent factory needed a dust free environment,supply of unterrupted power for its air filtration plants. The total power consumption exceeded Amethi village power requiremernts.
    This Kasargod plant seems to be a political choice.
    HAL must make extraordinary efforts to select and retain good engineers if they ever dream of putting an indigenously designed mission computer on board an Indian aircraft.
    If employment generation is an objective then much better labour intensive plants like a railway wagon or axle plant needs to be selected and not cutting edge technology centers which depend on ultra high level skills in design and manufacture.They may be available but it will require HAL's best efforts to initiate,nurture and sustain a committed team of Avionivs Designers who can rival the world's leading players.

  2. Thank You. That's an interesting and enlightening viewpoint. Neelam