Defence Industry

HFCL is Presently Executing Pan-India Backbone Networks Based on Cutting Edge Technology for the Ministry of Defence
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Issue Vol. 37.1, Jan-Mar 2022 | Date : 29 Mar , 2022

HFCL success story has been in media limelight recently. What has inspired the achievement?

The singular feature that has inspired the growth of HFCL in past few years is our commitment to emerge as one of the leading technology – led enterprise by offering integrated next-gen communication products and solutions. We have delivered state-of-the-art solutions, niche products and executed all turnkey projects on time. In the recent past, we have strengthened our product profile, both in ‘telecom’ and ‘defence’ segment. We have relied on in-house design, development and manufacturing. The Company’s in-house Centre for Excellence at Gurgaon & Bengaluru along with R&D facilities in India and abroad, innovate futuristic range of technologies, products and solutions. Some of the recently developed products are Wi-Fi Systems, Unlicensed Band Radios, Switches, Electronic Fuses, Electro optic devices, and Video Management Systems. In addition, a suite of products under development, include Software Defined Radios, Routers, PON, 5G Transport and Radio products, Wi-Fi 6 access points, and Ground Surveillance Radars.

Further, we are incorporating AI and ML in our 5G products. Our products are certified as ‘Trusted Source’ by National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). Moreover, we have expanded our sales – both within the country and globally – by partnering trading distributors and appointing sales executives in Europe/US to lead global sales and business development. We are now exporting our products to ~30 Countries.  The Government of India, vide PLI scheme has given impetus to indigenous manufacturing. On this front, our newly-incorporated and wholly-owned subsidiary, HFCL Technologies Private Limited, has been selected to participate in the PLI scheme. The above initiatives have helped HFCL to keep the growth momentum in the past few years. We envision to grow at the higher pace and offer our Customers competitive edge over their peers.

Mr Mahendra Nahata, MD HFCL Ltd

What is your outlook of the Indian defence sector?

India is the third-largest military force in the world. It is ranked amongst the top six defense-spenders globally. India spends 2.2 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product towards defense expenditure, which is likely to increase due to emerging security scenario on our borders. India imports 65 per cent of its defense equipment. Over the past several years, the Government is working towards self-reliance in terms of defense production and reduce imports to 30 per cent. The draft Defense Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP-2020) targets defense revenue growth at  15 per cent CAGR from FY 2020 to FY 2025. With several reforms in place, the draft DPEPP-2020 clearly focuses on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The intent of the draft is to become self-reliant with a focus on doubling the share of procurement from the domestic industry by FY ’25. This move offers immense opportunities for the private defense industry.

What are the predominant defense equipment(s) that HFCL specializes in?

The Company inter-alia specializes in setting up modern communications networks on turnkey basis. HFCL is presently executing pan-India backbone networks based on cutting edge technology for the Ministry of Defence. Simultaneously, it has a strong focus on defence products such as Electro-Optics, Electronic Fuses, Radars, SDR, HCRR and Anti UAV systems. The company recently received approval as a ‘Trusted Source’ from the NSCS. With this approval, HFCL has become the ‘Trusted Source’ for Armed Forces for sourcing their telecom products and infrastructure. The Company remains fully committed to continue serving Defence services with a wide range of products and services.  Furthermore, the Company is committed to deliver indigenously developed products / solutions to further accelerate our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat with greater zeal.

What are the overtures you are undertaking on the R&D front?

HFCL’s enhanced R&D capabilities have started yielding results in the form of expanding its products and solutions bouquet with a growing market share. Buoyed by these initial results and breakthroughs in ongoing research, HFCL is increasing its investments in R&D. The Company’s R&D programmes span the entire range of communications and telecom equipment, Optical Fibre Cable and defence electronics products such as Fuses and Radars. HFCL is the only Indian company to have successfully developed Electronic Fuses for artillery ammunition with its own IPRs. Moreover, it has also been selected as one of the agencies by the Indian Army for the development of Software Defined Radio. Besides bolstering its technological stature in India by building world-class products and solutions at globally competitive prices, HFCL is working aggressively to leverage its internal R&D capabilities for exporting to international markets.

HFCL recently raised Rs 600 crore via a Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) and the said funds will be utilized towards setting up new manufacturing facilities, capacity expansion and expenditure on R&D. Looking back at FY ’21, HFCL witnessed significant growth in its technological strengths. The Company opened a new R&D Centre in Bengaluru in June 2021, empowering itself with various collaborative arrangements to co-innovate future technologies. This is reflecting in increased R&D investments, which rose significantly during the last few years. HFCL intends to continue increasing these investments. The new R&D center in Bengaluru is dedicated solely for the development of 5G and Wi-Fi products. Some of the newly-developed products through in-house R&D are Wi-Fi Systems, Unlicensed Band Radios, Switches, Electronic Fuses, Electro Optic Devices, Cloud Management Systems and Video Management Systems.

What other initiatives is HFCL focusing on in defense sector?

HFCL continues to innovate its product pipeline and focus on providing high-technology defense products and solutions. The Company has made significant progress in Research and Development, production of prototypes and consequent field trials of various products by collaborating with its technology partners. As mentioned above, HFCL is the only Indian company to have developed Electronic Fuses for artillery ammunition with its own Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The Company has also participated in a bid for supply of 5 million Electronic Fuses for the Indian Army. HFCL provides best-in-class customized and diversified solutions spanning across hardware and software data and analytics. The major focus areas include Border and Perimeter Security, Anti-UAV Systems, Upgrade of BMP Platform and Active Protection Systems for Tanks.

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