Summary of Defense Expo 2020

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Defense Expo 2020 has been creating quite a buzz in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. The expo which is ongoing between the 5 th and 9 th of February is one of Lucknow's first events of such a massive scale as it is one of the biggest events that the city has ever hosted to date.

The expo has about 925 exhibitors showcasing their state-of-the-art military and defense equipment. The theme for Defense Expo 2020 this year is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub' and they aim at roping in International defense companies to set up their base in India. The main focus of the Def Expo is to make India a manufacturing hub in defense.

Here is a summary of the top deals and announcements from the ongoing Defense Expo 2020:

1. Airbus and Adani Defense and Aerospace have signed a pact at the DefExpo 2020 to explore the aircraft services market in India and South Asia. This fast-growing sector is expected to generate an annual business of USD 6.3 billion by 2025 in the country.

2. French Defense and Engineering Company Thales is all set to ramp up its India operations soon. This company is a big part of French military platforms which also includes the Rafale fighter jets that India had ordered. They are planning to hire ‘thousands of engineers’ to focus on technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

3. DRDO’s High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) signed a contract with a Russian company Rosoboronexport at the DefExpo2020. This will enable advancement in the field of energetic materials and pyrotechnic technology for the development of an advanced ignition system.

4. The most recent update is that the UK has now come forward after France for the joint development of future fighter jet engines. This would spearhead India’s plan to achieve self- reliance in combat engines. It is to be noted that this is a key technology area that only the top defense production countries have expertise in.

5. The first batch of the Kamov military helicopter will be rolled out by 2025 from Tumkur. This is a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and two Russian defense companies wherein India is procuring Kamov choppers to replace its Cheetah and Chetak choppers.

6. “India is targeting 20,000 crore investment in defense corridors over the next five years,” says PM Modi. The bid is to raise defense exports to 35,000 crores in the same time frame.

7. The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Dynamatic Technologies Ltd. (DTL) signed a memorandum of Understanding for manufacturing and selling of IAIs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to potential Indian customers like Indian Defense Forces, Paramilitary Forces, and Central Armed Police Forces at the DefExpo 20.

8. By 2030, India will spend over $130 billion on its military forces to enhance their warfare capabilities. A good amount of this military expenditure will be used for the force modernization of the Indian Navy to expand its base in the coming decades.

9. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) signed an MoU with Israel based defense electronics company Elbit Systems for promoting and marketing the Digital Head-up Displays (HUD) units. This is a transparent display that gives a pilot, the seamless view of information that is projected directly in the pilot's line of sight on a screen.

10. Boeing is a strong contender for two mega fighter jet deals of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The former has a proposed deal to acquire 114 multi-role fighter jets and the latter has a proposal to procure 57 carriers borne aircraft.

11. BHEL has entered into a pact with Bharat Electronics Ltd. to develop and market products, systems, and sensors for defense and non-defense applications. The MoU which was signed at the DefExpo 20’ will enable BHEL and BEL to make joint efforts to explore markets for products individually developed or jointly developed by both companies.

12. US Defense major Boeing has announced that the F/A 18 Super Hornet fighter jets will soon be tested on a ski jump to showcases its abilities to operate from Indian platforms. They are competing with French Rafale for an upcoming requirement of 57 jets for the Indian Navy.

13. Russia will begin the delivery of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India by the end of 2021. In 2018, Indian had signed a $5 billion deal for S-400 missiles. At the DefExpo 2020, Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Vladimir Drozhzhov announced that the contract is being implemented as per the schedule and the first shipment is due by 2021.

14. Indo-Russian joint venture for light military helicopters has moved to the next stage with the submission of techno-commercial proposals. This is now up to the apex defense acquisition council to give a ‘go-ahead’ for the same.

15. India pitches in as a reliable defense supplier to Africa. The first-ever India Africa defense Ministers conclave was held in Lucknow with an aim of exporting India made equipment to Africa keeping with the long-standing defense partnership since the 1950s. India has had defense partnerships with Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and Mozambique and is trying to expand this to include more countries across the continent.

Defexpo 2020 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lucknow’s Vrindavan Yojana. The expo will be open only to invitees until 7 th February. During the last two days between 8 th - 9 th , it will be accessible by the general public as well.


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