Mumbai: State-owned public sector unit (PSU) Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is gearing up to produce defence equipment, including weapons, in a wide variety of areas. According to company sources, the company has already applied for a licence to produce defence products. BHEL is India's largest power and transmission equipment manufacturer.
According to company sources, the listed PSU is likely to manufacture all types of guns, including field and air defence guns, as well as mortars, for the Indian defence services and the para-military forces. Its plans include the production of underwater weapon systems, weapon control solutions and components. Currently, the Ordnance Factory Board is the only PSU that manufactures arms and ammunition.
BHEL's plans reflect the growing attraction of the defence sector for manufacturing companies. Expanded budgetary allocations for defence, as well as a growing need for sophisticated products, coupled with newly laid down offset policies that will ensure that at least 30 per cent of all defence contracts worth over Rs300 crore will have to be sourced within the country, are now grabbing the attention of public and private sector manufacturing units.
BHEL, which has a distinguished track record for sophisticated contract work in the field of power transmission and generation, will now seek to manufacture defence avionics including components for unmanned air vehicles, aerostats, and unmanned aerial combat vehicles, according to company sources.
Other items likely to be produced by the company may include systems such as rocket launchers, defence electronics, torpedoes and components of armoured and combat vehicles.