Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) to collaborate on research and development (R&D), and manufacturing and supplying components, sub-assemblies, and systems to India's defence and aerospace sector.

As part of the MoU, a working group with members from both organisations will be formed to oversee the areas of collaboration.

Cybersecurity, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) engines, anti-UAV technologies, and manufacturing of composite fixed-wing UAVs of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) category are some of the areas on which the two organisations will work together.

IIT-Kanpur claims that it has been involved in various “strategic partnerships and multi-disciplinary collaborations” with government agencies and private companies in the two sectors.

“Both the organisations would leverage their expertise to assert cohesive efforts in strengthening the defence and aerospace. It would surely accelerate the steps towards exploring multi-disciplinary avenues of growth in these crucial sectors,” said Abhay Karandikar, Director of IIT Kanpur.

Through this partnership, the institute will focus on "developing indigenised devices, equipment, and systems quintessential for attaining self-reliance" in these sectors, added Manindra Agrawal, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur.

A public sector undertaking (PSU), BHEL is one of the largest engineering and manufacturing companies in India. In the last few years, it has stepped up its defence manufacturing capabilities and has worked with various armed forces, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on various projects.