Now private sector forays into specialised night-vision devices

Kanpur, Jan 8 (IANS) A leading Indian private sector provider of armouring and ballistic protection solutions that sells its products around the globe has forayed into manufacturing night-vision devices (NVDs), a powerful force multiplier that greatly enhances the strike capability of the security forces.

“To mitigate risks from increasing competition, business lumpiness coupled with long gestation periods, we constantly look out for diversification vis-à-vis products and technologies in vogue and in demand by the global forces. Foraying into the electro-optical domain (of NVDs) is the outcome of one such decision, as the end users are the same,” Neeraj Gupta, MD of MKU Ltd based here, told IANS, without disclosing the name of the customer — an elite police unit — from whom it has got its first order for the devices.

“And since we were already enabling soldiers by equipping them with personal armour, electro-optical devices come in as force multipliers and enhance the night-fighting capability of the forces,” Gupta added.

MKU owns the full Intellectual Property Rights for the binocular and monoculars NVDs.

IANS was invited by the company for a familarisation trip and was given extensive tour of the two armour protection manufacturing units and the electro-optical plant where the NVDs are manufactured.

The product portfolio of company includes ballistic helmets and vests that can provide protection from different kinds of weapons, starting from small arms like pistols to automatic assault rifles like AK-47s.

The two armour manufacturing units of MKU can annually produce around 200,000 helmets, 150,000 bulletproof vests and 300,000 armour inserts.

In addition to the personal solutions, MKU also provides armouring kits for all kinds of land vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and naval ships for protection against different type of weapons.

“It has not been easy to break the globally predominant Made in India perception in Defence. Our sales funnel and order book and global footprint, as on date, certainly does have a story to tell of its own. Today MKU products are being used by 230 forces in 100 countries around the world,” Sharad Khandelwal, Director, Global Sales, told IANS.

In 2015, MKU contributed 65 per cent of the total defence exports by India’s private sector and 41 per cent of the total defence exports from India.

Till date, MKU has sold protection gear for over two million soldiers, 1,200 land vehicles, 250 aircraft of different kinds and for more than 600 naval platforms.

MKU has executed a number of contracts for the Indian forces but one of the most significant is armouring 200 Coast Guard patrol boats.

EIS Electronic, a subsidiary of the company, with its two facilities — one in Germany and the other here in Kanpur — manufactures electrical harnesses for various aircraft.

The company said it had been investing heavily into research and development.

“Technology and innovation have been the forte of MKU ever since we started our first supplies and today we proudly state we are one of the few companies with an in-house ballistic laboratory working untiringly to innovate and produce cutting-edge, technologically-advanced products,” Khandelwal said.

“We invest approximately 6 to 8 per cent in R&D annually. We have recently added state-of-the-art manufacturing machinery/equipment which will see us raising the bar higher for manufacturing standards in 2017,” he added.

Through its in-house research, MKU has patented 16 technologies which are recognised in the US and Europe.

(Rohit Srivastava’s visit was at the invitation of MKU. He can be contacted at rohit.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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