Tata leads race to sell mini UAVs to Army

Tata leads race to sell mini UAVs to Army


NEW DELHI: The Tata Group is set to ink an agreement with the government to sell 1,200 trucks to the defence forces in a deal valued at close to Rs 1,000 crore. In addition, it has emerged as the lowest bidder for a contract for mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the Indian Army’s Northern Command, although the terms of the deal are yet to be finalized.

The twin deals come at a time when the group is looking to ramp up its presence in the defence segment through several of its group companies and has managed to generate an order book of close to Rs 8,000 crore. The salt to software conglomerate saw revenues of close to Rs 1,700 crore during the last financial year and is expecting a growth of around 40% during the current financial year, Mukund Rajan, member – group executive council and brand custodian, Tata Sons told reporters.

While Tata Motors is expected to sign the deal for the 6×6 trucks after Tatra was blacklisted over its alleged involvement in the irregularities, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) is the top contender for the mini-UAV contract. TASL vice-president Sukaran Singh said that the company has been approached by several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) work related to aircraft components.

“We would need to have a separate unit, possibly expansion at our existing facility in Bangalore, to produce the UAV,” Singh said.

For Tata Motors, Vernon Noronha, who heads the company’s defence and government business wing, the focus is on armoured vehicles from its traditional strongholds of producing trucks. “Our aim is to operate in the entire range, from back up logistics vehicle segment to the battle front with frontline armoured vehicles.”

He said the company is working on a DRDO funded project for wheel-armoured amphibious platform, which will be ready in about two years.