Tag Archives: grajnarayan

LCA-Tejas-15

Another Chairman of HAL talks

HAL seems to have finally realized that it needs to be a final integrator after all! Or has it?LCA

(http://m.thehindu.com/news/national/hal-seeks-to-lighten-light-combat-aircraft-burden/article7617119.ece) It now wants to offload major parts of the airframe to the large private players. We can now see the ‘biggies’ trooping to HAL to have a bite of the various platforms that HAL has been struggling to deliver to its reluctant customers.

How sincere is HAL when it makes such statements? I say this because this same intent has been repeated over the years ad nauseum without any action on the ground:

2002: www.thehindu.com/thehindu/2002/06/13/…/2002061301830400.htm

2003: www.thehindubusinessline.com/2003/02/12/…/2003021201020200.htm

2005 August: www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-logistics/outsourcing-bonanza-in-aviation-hal-alone-sets-rs-600crore-business-for-private-sector/article2185343.ece

2005 October: www.thehindubusinessline.com/…/haloutsourcing/article2193883.ece

If anybody thinks that this would make an impact on the Indian military aerospace sector, they are going to be sadly disappointed once again. All that this would achieve is to allow the large private players to put in place a certified system of producing airworthy structures, besides churning out riveted airframes and that too out of jigs and fixtures to be transferred to them by HAL. What nobody seems to notice is that a large part of a flying platform comprises its accessories and systems, including the most important power plant (engine), that really determines the flying as well as fighting capability of that aircraft. Onboard systems constitute about 25% of the acquisition cost of a military aircraft and along with the power plant, they account for 50% of the total cost. These also need maintenance and upgrades over the long operating lifecycle of at least 35 years. Considering that such systems can be tailored and modified to suit multiple aircraft, this constitutes the core of the aerospace industry. So, isn’t it silly that we are still talking only of manufacturing the shell and nothing about indigenous development and manufacture of all airborne systems such as avionics, electrical, hydraulics, pneumatics, air-conditioning and pressurization, cockpit instruments, weapons control, etc?

The Lucknow division of HAL was established out of the need for self-reliance in the development of accessories and systems. It has miserably failed to meet its mandate and hence this is where a multi-billion dollar opportunity exists for a large number of MSMEs alone. They can do wonders if pool their knowledge base, collaborate and synergize with each other and HAL can benefit by this too. This could lead to the creation of multiple consortia across the country each of which could be a potential exporter over time.

It is interesting that the CMD, HAL has talked of hand-holding. Let us look at their past track record. Five years ago, two divisions of HAL (Nasik and Lucknow) cancelled their outsourced manufacturing orders to a small private company stating that the labour unions had objected to outsourcing of work to the private sector. This was after going through a whole process of tendering, L1, price negotiation, and release of formal Purchase Orders. Is the CMD of HAL now sure that this will not happen again? Or, would the divisions now go to the unions to plead with them?

Talking of the 2600 SMEs that are supposed to be supplying parts to HAL, has anybody wondered what quantum of business each of these SMEs derive from HAL? If they are only manufacturing bolts and nuts, they could certainly graduate to aggregators by putting them together into a bracket or sub-assembly. That’s not what the SMEs would like to aim at. This precisely has been the problem with HAL. They never seem to be able to recognize the huge potential that lies untapped among the many competent and highly capable MSMEs of this country. Had HAL encouraged and facilitated the formation of clusters of MSMEs two decades ago, these would by now have graduated to system integrators, with each cluster delivering a communication or navigation or hydraulic system.

Why has HAL done nothing to support and encourage the existing MSMEs, many of whom are CEMILAC certified, who have already demonstrated their capabilities by manufacturing complete airborne equipment? Why does HAL not realise that creating such an ecosystem would be a force multiplier?

Indian Aerospace skilling

Make In India – But who will skill our Engineering Graduates?

The USD 400 billion opportunity

The catch-phrase today in Indian Industry is ‘Make in India’. The estimated domestic demand for Electronics products alone, is of the order of USD 400 billion by 2020. Every entrepreneur in the manufacturing sector is aspiring to take a slice of this pie.

The Challenges

However, if Make in India is to become a reality, there has to be a focus on the product manufacturing sector. China today, is a giant economic power, because it is a manufacturing hub for almost everything across the globe. Unless we are self-sufficient in Manufacturing, we can never hope to match, leave alone overtake, our neighbour.To achieve this, as has been highlighted by many experts, several areas need urgent attention – such as our infrastructure, labour laws and tax laws. But by far the most important initiative needed is in making our engineers employable. This is the greatest hurdle in the realisation of the goal of ‘Make in India’. Without competent engineers to drive the programme, how can the campaign even take off? How will we create our own products?

One step further – from Make in India to Design in India

In the Aerospace and Defence sector, how will India transform from being one of the largest importers of defence equipment, into being self-sufficient in defence products and then onwards to become an exporter? We need to make our engineering graduates skilled not only in Manufacturing but in Design.

Indian Aerospace skilling, grajnarayan

 

Tweet this: We need to not just Make in India, but Create in India, Design in India and Innovate in India, so as to create and own all the intellectual property ourselves.

For this, we need to skill our engineers not just as computer operators but as intelligent designers and engineers in practice.

Why do we need to skill engineers?

There has been a lot of emphasis of late, on ‘Skilling India’. Most of the initiatives under this program are focused on skilling the workforce at the technician level – electrician, machine operator, etc. There is no recognition of the crying need for our fresh engineering graduates to be made job-ready with hard-core engineering domain skills. Reports suggest that out of about 1.5 million engineers graduating from more than 3500 engineering colleges across India in 2014, only a shocking 4 to 7 % of engineers are actually fit for jobs in the core engineering sectors.

Tweet this: Studies also indicate that employers are not satisfied with the fresh graduates they recruit, and that ‘Graduates seem to lack higher-order thinking skills (analyzing, evaluating and creating)’.

There is a huge demand from the core engineering industries for practical engineers who have hands-on experience. We need to close this large gap between the existing education system and the actual industry requirement.

Today, while we find many training institutes for software, even computer hardware (assembly & troubleshooting) and networking, there are very few training schools for engineers in core engineering disciplines, especially Electronics and Aerospace Engineering Design, and none that include robust processes, documentation and project management. Industries spend several months training them on these essential skills.

In view of the need faced by Engineering students and the Indian Manufacturing Industry, Radel (a well-known name in the Aerospace and Consumer Electronics sectors) has embarked on a novel initiative – Drona, school for engineering practice, that mentors and trains graduates and fresh industry recruits in a real industrial environment with exposure to exciting live projects, to make them industry-ready.