KRAS bags $100 mn order for 1,000 Barak missiles

Hyderabad (IANS) Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) on Thursday received a $100 million contract from top Israeli arms firm Rafael to supply 1,000 Barak-8 MRSAM missile kits for the Indian Army and Air Force.

KRAS, India's first private missile production facility located here, will supply the missiles for further integration to the public sector defence undertaking Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL).

Rafael Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Air and Missile Defense Systems Division, retired Brigadier General Pini Yungman presented the contract to KRAS at a ceremony attended by Kalyani Group Chairman Baba Kalyani.

The supply of missiles will begin in the fourth quarter of the current financial year and will continue over next four years.

This is the first major order received since KRAS, a 49:51 ratio joint venture between Rafael Advanced Systems and Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd, was formed in 2017 as India's first missile sub-system manufacturing entity. It claims to be the first large foreign direct investment (FDI) in a defence manufacturing plant in India.

Baba Kalyani said Rafael will share with KRAS all technologies required to make the products. It will also be engaged in manufacturing and supply of some of the advanced systems of Rafael portfolio to friendly nations.

He said they were looking at building Rafael's Derby Mk III beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile for India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Baba Kalyani said KRAS was contributing significantly to the Make in India initiative and was a testimony to the increasing cooperation between India and Israel.

KRAS is looking at setting up a second manufacturing facility near Hyderabad for integration of various defence products. It has requested the Telangana government for allocating 100 acres for this purpose. 

Officials here said since the facility will deal with warheads and explosives, they are looking for a location about 50-60 km from the city.

The existing facility has already started exports. Officials said last year it exported products worth $15 million and is looking at $20 million exports during the current year.

KRAS had set up the facility to make Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) SPIKE for the Indian Army. However, last year India cancelled $500 million deal with Rafeal apparently to give a chance to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to deliver indigenous anti-tank missiles.

Rudra B. Jadeja, CEO, KRAS remained hopeful of his company eventually getting the SPIKE contract. He said they had delivered first order of 210 SPIKE missiles.

"These missiles were inducted in the defence forces. They know the real value of the systems. They will have lot of things to talk about," he said.

Though SPIKE did not come through, the facility is making long range glider bombs, which are very high precision ordnance.

It made systems for Spice 2000 guided bombs, which were used by the Indian Air Force for strikes on a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26.

KRAS Director R.S. Bhatia said the company had a turnover of Rs 100 crore during 2018-19 which figure was expected to be almost the same during the current year. He expects the turnover to be Rs 250 crore during 2020-21.

In addition to 80 employees at its existing facility, the technology work of KRAS is supported by Kalyani Centre for Technology and Innovation located at Gachibowli in Hyderabad with a team of another 80 people.

The company will also be setting up a system to provide service to customers through onsite maintenance of the systems delivered by it.

Over the past two decades, Rafael has invested over $250 million in India. 

"We are proud of our participation in Make in India, and our strong relationship with the vibrant talent across India's defense industries. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones with KRAS as well as our many other partners like BDL within India," Yungman said.

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