The Adani Group has entered the small arms business with the acquisition of a facility in Gwalior that will produce machine guns, carbines and other weapons for the local and export markets.
The acquisition – through a joint venture in which Israeli manufacturer IWI holds a 49% stake – will help the group acquire capabilities ranging from UAVs to helicopter systems to major aero structures.
Sources said the transfer of ownership of PLR was done late last year after Punj Llyod sold its share to a third company that was then picked up by the Adani Group. “It is important to give an impetus to Make in India. We looked for what our customers need and there is an immediate requirement for small arms and ammunition,” Ashish Rajvanshi, Head of Adani Defence & Aerospace, told ET.
Sources said the entity is poised to pick up major orders from the defence ministry, with final discussions underway for 16,400 light machine guns for which IWI is the lead contender. The acquisition under the fast-track procedure is likely to be taken up by the Defence Acquisition Committee later this month while a larger competition for 41,000 guns is also underway. Besides, paramilitary forces and state police, too, have requirements for these small arms.
“Addressing the requirement of small arms for 1.2 million Army personnel, and a similar number for paramilitary and state police is essential for their self-reliance…,” Rajvanshi said.
The Gwalior facility was inaugurated in March 2017 and was the first Indian private sector company that started manufacturing small arms and ammunition.
The facility is designed to manufacture a range of weapons including the Tavor Assault Rifle (already in use by special forces), the X 95 Assault rifle, Galil sniper rifles, Negev LMGs and Uzi sub machine guns. The first set of Indian manufacture X 95 rifles were rolled out by the facility in October 2018.
The Adani Group said that is it looking at acquiring key technologies to manufacture small arms domestically. “We are moving the assembly line for some of the most critical parts of the guns to the Indian facility,” Rajvanshi said.
As reported by ET, the Adani group has strong plans for its defence business, starting with the acquisition of Bangalore-based Alpha Design Technologies and setting up of a new manufacturing facility in Hyderabad to make Hermes 900 drones in collaboration with Israel’s Elbit Systems.
The company has already been shortlisted as a potential strategic partner for the Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) contract and is also making a bid for the multi-billion dollar project to build next generation conventional submarines in India under the P 75 (I) project.