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‘Make in India’ gets Big Push with 64% of Defence Modernization Budget

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The Union Defence Ministry has decided to earmark around 64 per cent of its modernisation funds under the capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 — a sum of over Rs 70,000 crore — for purchases from the domestic sector.
This marks an increase from 2020-21 when a capital budget allocation for domestic vendors was first made. At 58 per cent, this came to an amount of Rs 52,000 crore.
The announcement for 2021-22 was made by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a seminar on defence budget organised by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), an association representing domestic industry players. It is part of the Modi government’s larger push to make India — currently the world’s second-biggest arms importer — self-reliant in the field of defence.
In his address, Singh also spoke about widening the ‘negative import list’, which lists items that India seeks to stop buying from other countries. In 2020, the government listed 101 items — including weapons systems and assault rifles — and specified an indicative date by which the import embargo will kick in for each of them.
Singh said discussions are underway on including certain spares in the list.
Announcing the increase in allocation for purchases from domestic defence vendors, Singh said “it will have a positive impact on enhanced domestic procurement, having a multiplier effect on our industries including MSMEs and start-ups and also increase employment in the defence sector”.
Experts in the field say the decision is a welcome step towards encouraging Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and ‘Make in India’ — the Modi government’s mission to boost local manufacturing. However, they add, its success is something that will only be known with time.
A Make-in-India push
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the defence sector has been identified as one of the core areas to boost ‘Make in India’.
Big-ticket defence projects currently being pursued under Make in India include the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (83 of which have been ordered), transport aircraft C-295 (to be manufactured by Tata-Airbus, deal with the government in final stages), and the AK-203 rifles (to be made in India as part of a joint venture between the Ordnance Factory Board, Kalashnikov Concern, and Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency for military exports.).
In 2021-22, the Army has been allocated a capital outlay — for acquisitions, repair, etc — of Rs 36,000 crore, the Navy Rs 33,000 crore, and the IAF Rs 58,000 crore.
The 64 per cent allocation for domestic vendors in 2021-22 means the import legroom has shrunk to 36 per cent. According to government sources, the three defence services were asked to arrive at a ratio of planned procurements from the domestic and global sectors before finalising this figure.
Rajnath Singh said that the defence ministry also plans to channelise about Rs 1,000 crore in 2021-22 for procurement from iDEX, a defence ministry initiative to encourage start-ups.
The government’s push to promote indigenous defence equipment is evident in the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, which prioritises capital acquisitions from domestic players over foreign ones.
Earlier this month, the 15th finance commission advised the government to devise a road map to reduce India’s dependence on defence imports while enhancing indigenous production at a faster rate.
PM Modi said the government has taken several initiatives like de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion, and foreign investment liberalisation, to give the defence manufacturing sector a boost.
India, he added, should look at achieving defence-related exports to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore to become a net exporter of defence equipment in the next five years.
How the decision is likely to pan out
A senior services official said the decision to increase fund allocation for domestic procurement is a good move to boost the Indian defence sector.
“However, the actual expenditure on domestic procurements from the capital budget set aside for the purpose would be clear only when the expenditure estimates come at the end of the financial year,” the officer said. “That would determine the success of the move.”
Another officer said the way forward would mean targeted earmarking of funds for the domestic sector.
“Expenditure and utilisation will also depend on the absorption capacity of the domestic defence industry,” the officer added. The move, the officer said, “will also enhance investment sentiments in the domestic defence industry”.
Brigadier Ashis Bhattachayya (retd), a senior adviser at SIDM, said the benefits of a high capital allocation for the domestic defence sector are “colossal” because the entire “industrial base gets a chance to mature”.
“This is most important for an Atmanirbhar Bharat to develop the ecosystem. We were behind schedule on that front,” he said.
“Earlier, it was 70 per cent for foreign sellers, which went down to 65 per cent. It is indeed a big boost to the defence industry when you turn the figure around,” he added. “That is because the entire ecosystem gets a chance to service this demand placed on platform makers,” he said.

The post ‘Make in India’ gets Big Push with 64% of Defence Modernization Budget appeared first on ELE Times.

Source: https://www.eletimes.com/make-in-india-gets-big-push-with-64-of-defence-modernization-budget

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Virgin Galactic unveils new spaceship for its growing fleet

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Virgin Galactic has unveiled the company’s first SpaceShip III in its growing fleet, VSS Imagine.

The spaceship showcases Virgin Galactic’s innovation in design and astronaut experience. Imagine also demonstrates progress toward efficient design and production, as Virgin Galactic works to scale the business for the long-term.

VSS Imagine will commence ground testing, with glide flights planned for this summer from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The livery design, finished entirely with a mirror-like material, reflects the surrounding environment, constantly changing colour and appearance as it travels from earth to sky to space.

Leveraging a modular design, the SpaceShip III class of vehicles are built to enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate. This third generation of spaceship will lay the foundation for the design and manufacture of future vehicles.

As VSS Imagine begins ground testing, manufacturing will progress on VSS Inspire, the second SpaceShip III vehicle within the Virgin Galactic fleet. The introduction of the SpaceShip III class of vehicles is an important milestone in Virgin Galactic’s multi-year effort that targets flying 400 flights per year, per spaceport.

VSS Imagine is unveiled ahead of VSS Unity’s next test flight, which is planned for May 2021.

Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, commented: “Today we unveiled our SpaceShip III class of vehicles, marking the beginning of the Virgin Galactic fleet. VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight. Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, added: “Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves. As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships. All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet.”

www.virgingalactic.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/virgin-galactic-unveils-new-spaceship-for-its-growing-fleet/

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

Hexcel has announced its role within the recently launched UK-based project called ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development) that will focus on developing high-rate manufacturing and processing technologies that will accelerate the development of new, lightweight advanced composite materials.

The composites company will join lead partner GKN Aerospace and 13 other project stakeholders in a collaboration across the UK supply chain to develop the technologies and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight, more fuel-efficient structures for sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive industries.

Hexcel will contribute to the ASCEND project framework, developing a new HexPly fast cure prepreg system that will significantly reduce component processing times compared to existing aerospace prepregs.

In addition to its new fast curing prepreg technology, Hexcel’s range of Liquid Composite Moulding (LCM) products will be incorporated into the ASCEND project work packages. The project will use both HiTape advanced unidirectional dry carbon reinforcements and HiMax multiaxial non-crimp fabrics reinforcements.

The ASCEND project will allow Hexcel to collaborate with Tier 1 companies, engineers, tooling specialists, and production equipment OEMs to deliver both prepreg and liquid composite moulding solutions that meet both the performance targets and satisfy the processing requirements for high-rate automated manufacture.

The technical integration enabled by the ASCEND project partnerships will ensure a complete understanding of customer performance and processing needs, coupled with the opportunity to industrialize new technologies utilizing the extensive capabilities of GKN’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

Paul Mackenzie, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Hexcel, said “We are  proud to be part of the ASCEND program, and we look forward to working with other leading companies as we develop processes and materials that help to make the next generation of sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive vehicles possible. This project offers the perfect platform for Hexcel to collaborate and further develop our HexPly, HiMax, and HiTape technologies.”

The ASCEND partners working alongside Hexcel include Assyst Bulmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, DES Composites, FAR-UK, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, The National Composites Centre, Solvay Composite Technologies, Rafinex, and Sigmatex (UK).

Together, the group looks forward to delivering the material and automation innovations that will power more sustainable mobility solutions of the future.

www.hexcel.com

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes extends landing gear kits contract with Magellan

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes division has extended its component supply contract with Canada-based supplier Magellan Aerospace.

Under this long-term contract, Magellan will continue to supply landing gear kits and structural components for Boeing platforms such as the 737, 767, and 777.

The contract extension also shows that Magellan meets Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ cost, quality and performance requirements.

Magellan business development, marketing and contract vice-president Haydn Martin said: “Securing this major business extension for key Boeing platforms is foundational for our New York and Kitchener facilities as the aerospace industry works to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.

“The confidence that Boeing has placed in Magellan is significant and demonstrates our ability to offer our customers comprehensive and reliable solutions.”

For Boeing, the company is using a vertical integration strategy that leverages global resources in Ontario, New York City, and India.

It has also made significant investments across all its facilities regarding manufacturing technology and the workforce to enhance its competitiveness worldwide.

Magellan will deliver these kits and hardware from its facilities in Kitchener, Ontario and New York City, New York. The company will also produce an extra supply of kits to reduce production risk.

Deliveries will be made directly to Boeing’s assembly facilities in Renton and Everett, Washington, US.

Last month, Magellan signed a five-year renewal agreement with Avio Aero to supply magnesium and aluminium castings.

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/boeing-commercial-aircraft-magellan/

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ZeroAvia raises new funding for hydrogen-electric engine development

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Zero-emission aviation firm ZeroAvia has raised $24.3m in new funding to support the development of a 2MW hydrogen-electric engine.

Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Horizons Ventures, an existing investor, led the latest funding round and was joined by new investor British Airways.

Other investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ, also joined the financing.

The financing takes the company’s total private investment to more than $53m while the total funding raised is close to $74m since its formation.

ZeroAvia’s funding comes a few months after the UK Government, through the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK, announced a $16.3m (£12.3m) grant to deliver a 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft in the market by 2023.

The new funding will accelerate the hydrogen-electric powertrain development for a ten to 20-seater regional aircraft.

ZeroAvia aims to commercialise the engine as early as 2024. The company aims to enter the more than 50-seater commercial aircraft segment by 2026.

The funding will also de-risk the company ambition to power a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.

ZeroAvia CEO and founder Val Miftakhov said: “This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale.

“With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology.”

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/zeroavia-electric-raising-funds/

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