India plans to establish nine defense projects, including a surface-to-air missile (SAM) facility, with an investment of 70 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The SAM project is being built by state-run defense unit Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL) at Ibrahimpatnam in Ranga Reddy district, near the state capital of Hyderabad. The site is likely to become operational in the next three years.
The BDL project is estimated to cost 5 billion rupees. “Once ready, an estimated 6,000 missiles are expected to be produced initially at the unit,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy said during the weekend.
BDL has the entire missile research and development program in the state. Another two missile projects are coming up in Medak and Visakhapatnam, also in Andhra Pradesh.
“We will invest over $6 billion over the next two five-year plans,” says the junior minister for defense, Pallam Raju. “The facility will manufacture all types of missiles for the Indian armed forces.”
The SAM facility will be BDL’s fourth manufacturing center in Andhra Pradesh and fifth in the country. BDL has produced more than 100,000 missiles. The company recently set up a facility in Vishakhapatnam to manufacture torpedoes for the navy, work that will begin within the next three months.
“While some of the production we undertake is through foreign collaboration for transfer of technology, we also produce missiles developed indigenously by the DRDO [Defense Research and Development Organization]. For others, we do our own value addition,” BDL Chairman and Managing Director Ravi Khetarpal says.
Raju said other defense companies are expected to establish missile facilities: Bharat Electronics Ltd., is setting up three; Electronics Corp. of India Ltd., two; and Mishra Dhatu Nigam one.
“The production of missiles will begin once acceptance tests are completed by the army, navy and air force at various levels. We are seeking help from two countries for technology transfer,” Raju adds.