Says it is more complex than making advanced weapons

Mumbai: Godrej Aerospace on Friday handed over the first of the 100 orders for the airframes for the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile systems to Defence Research Development Laboratories.

Sudhir Mishra, Distinguished Scientist and Director General (BrahMos), DRDO, and MD & CEO, BrahMos Aerospace, feels the achievement is bigger than being able to make even the most advanced weapon systems in the world.

Godrej has already started working on missile boosters for the BrahMoS, and BrahMoS Aerospace has already given it a development order to make the boosters in India. Indian boosters will also start coming within a year, Godrej said. The booster is another major subsystem similar to fuel management.

“The manufacturing of this fuel management system is much more complicated than the development and manufacturing of any weapon or aero-system in the world,” Mishra told BusinessLine in an interview.

The airframe also acts as a fuel management system, responsible for managing the liquid propellant and controlled flow combustion of fuel to fire the missile towards its target.

“Today, if there is one company that can manufacture an aerospace engine, it is just Godrej because they have the experience of making this fuel management system,” Mishra added.

In December 2017, Godrej Aerospace had won an order for 100 sets of airframe assemblies for the air-launched version. Godrej has already supplied 100 sets of the land version of the missile to BrahMos Aerospace.

Working with DRDO on the BrahMos missile has helped Godrej Aerospace turn profitable after nearly 20 years of operations. Godrej is also helping BrahMos Aerospace achieve indigenisation levels of 85 per cent.

“This fuel management system comprises more than 2,500 different materials. All these materials are indigenously developed and sourced. The company (Godrej) created a manufacturing ecosystem which can develop defence equipment,” Mishra said.

The division is profitable because it does a variety of things including exports, said Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and MD of Godrej & Boyce, the parent of Godrej Aerospace. “It has been 20 years of investment. It was certainly not profitable from day one, but currently it is. The aerospace division works on both the defence side and the space side. And all this together has helped us turn profitable.”

Focus On Exports

Godrej said the company will also work aggressively on exports to grow the aerospace division.

“We have specialised in certain types of components and for those there is export opportunity. Our partnership with Rolls Royce is for over 300 types of brackets in the engine. Those are the type of components we want to specialise in, export and raise revenue,” Godrej said in a statement.

BrahMos is a supersonic missile with a flight range of up to 290 km and can carry conventional warhead weighing 200-300 kg. It is the fastest cruise missile in the world.

“India has become the first country in the world to have integrated a BrahMoS kind of cruise missile into a fighter aircraft. No one, including US or even Russia, has such as capability,” Mishra said.