Brahmos-fitted Sukhois, iDEX products on display at Vibrant Gujarat show - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 9 January 2024

Brahmos-fitted Sukhois, iDEX products on display at Vibrant Gujarat show

At the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, HAL is displaying the BrahMos-fitted Sukhoi-30MKI fighter and its successful range of light helicopters, including the Dhruv and the Prachanda light combat helicopter

By Ajai Shukla

10th January 2024


Until recently, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was a byword for the licensed assembly of foreign aircraft and products, without substantial value-addition in India.


Now, a decade after the government switched emphasis to “Make in India” – which includes design & development (D&D), maintenance, repair  and overhaul (MRO) – HAL is showcasing a range of indigenous products in the 10th edition of the ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show’ which began on Tuesday at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.


"With its thrust on Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), HAL seeks to explore the capability of Indian industries through this event", says CB Ananthakrishnan, HAL’s chief.


Amongst the attractions at HAL’s display pavilion will be a beefed up, deadlier variant of the supersonic Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter, integrated with the indigenous BrahMos air-launched cruise missile (ALCM).


Since 2001, HAL has manufactured 222 Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft and overhauled over 100 at its plant in Nashik. In the pipeline is another order for assembling 12 more fighters there.


Also in demand, in countries such as the Philippines, is the BrahMos ALCM. Its weight has been reduced by the Hyderabad-based BrahMos Aerospace from 3,500 kilogrammes (kg) to 2,500 kg. The smaller ALCM variant allows the Sukhoi-30MKI to carry and fire the missile without it fouling with the aircraft’s fuselage.


The missile can be carried by the Sukhoi-30MKI variant to its maximum range of over 1,500 kilometres (km) and launched from there. Thereafter, the ALCM can fly independently for another 300 km before striking its target.


Besides the Sukhoi-30MKI, HAL is displaying its successful range of light helicopters. This includes the Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH), for which the services have placed orders for more than 200 pieces.


In addition, the Prachanda light combat helicopter (LCH) will be on static display. A ‘make-in-India’ product that is built with private participation, LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world that can land and take-off from helipads at altitudes of 5000 m (16,400 ft) with a load of weapons and fuel that meets the specific requirements of India’s armed forces. 


HAL has identified over 100 critical items for indigenisation and is displaying some of them in the show. HAL’s stall will also showcase core competencies and capabilities of Indian defence industries, and opportunities for indigenising critical aerospace parts, materials, and consumables.


iDEX – DIO to participate


The defence ministry’s indigenisation scheme, “Innovations for Defence Excellence- Defence Innovation Organization (iDEX-DIO)” is also participating in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024.


The iDEX pavilion is based on the theme of the Summit – ‘Gateway to the Future’— with iDEX innovators exhibiting futuristic technologies in unmanned solutions, artificial intelligence, cyber security and advanced materials.


iDEX was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018. Its objective is to cultivate innovation in the defence and aerospace sector by collaborating with start-ups, innovators, MSMEs, incubators, and academia. 


iDEX offers grants for R&D on defence equipment with potential for development in Indian defence and aerospace.


It is currently engaged with over 400 start-ups and medium, small and micro enterprises, or MSMEs. So far, procurement has been cleared of 31 products worth over Rs 2,000 crore. iDEX is recognized as a game-changer in the defence ecosystem, and has received the PM Award for Innovation in the defence sector

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