February 03, 2022
The Indian defence manufacturing industry is a critical segment for the economy’s growth. The sector is likely to gain more prominence with rising national security concerns. Over the last few years, India has been ranked among the top importers of defence equipment. But thanks to the persistent efforts by a few homegrown players, the dream to make India self-reliant in defence production doesn’t seem far off. Anadrone Systems Pvt Ltd, a leading defence production firm, needs a special mention here. Founded by Anant Bhalotia, the company has provided aerial target services to several Indian weapon system manufacturers for developmental testing and acceptance trials of their systems and building systems for air defence training.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Anant was always curious about the Indian Armed Forces, defence production, and technology. Armed with an MBA degree in Finance from the UK, he repatriated to India to fulfil his dreams of serving the nation. Despite lucrative offers from overseas, he found his calling in defence production and founded Anadrone Systems Private Limited in 2004.
“The sole objective was to meet the specialized equipment requirements of the Indian Defence Services & execute larger and more complex projects to enhance the nation’s defence capabilities,” he said. Interestingly, despite no technical know-how and defence background, Anant has come a long way in the Indian defence industry. His perseverance, hard work, and constant dedication have put his company among the most trusted ones globally.
Aiming to achieve the best in the industry, Anant left no stone unturned to travel across the country to acquire technical knowledge and interact with defence experts. He obtained the necessary statutory and regulatory approvals to turn his ideas into reality. Thus, in 2008, he moved a step ahead by joining forces with UK defence tech firm QinetiQ Target Systems Ltd. which operates primarily in the defence, security and critical infrastructure markets and has been providing services to over 40 countries globally. Since then, there has been no looking back. Today, Anadrone has become a trusted supplier, manufacturer and operator of state-of-the-art target systems for air defence training from simple, low-performance model aeroplane targets through manoeuvrable targets to sophisticated high subsonic and supersonic systems.
While the Anadrone products and services are high on quality, they have found a respectable place in all the uniformed Indian defence services. Notably, the company has formed collaborations with leading homegrown MSME players to encourage their growth and generate local employment in the defence sector. Anant also added that the company has a dedicated R&D and manufacturing unit at the TATA Steel SEZ, Gopalpur, set up in 2016. He says, “The wide spectrum of technological solutions provided by Anadrone and end-to-end design, assembly & testing capabilities gives us an edge over others. We never compromise on quality and leverage our full range of expertise, experience, and capabilities to execute different turnkey military solutions.”
As part of the Modi government’s more significant push to make India self-reliant in the field of defence, the Anadrone Systems recently bagged the contract to supply advanced defence equipment to the Indian Army and the Air Force. The company will supply 125 Manoeuvrable Expendable Aerial Targets (MEAT) and associated equipment worth Rs 96 crore for research and development projects. “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the Indian Army and the Air Force for them to procure our aerial target systems. This partnership will allow us to support the ambitious AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative as well,” says Anant adding that the state government has been instrumental behind supporting his company to promote the defence manufacturing industry.
With these achievements under its belt, Anadrone is targeting to expand its footprint across the country. “There are primarily two long term goals that we’d strive to achieve. First, make India one of the world’s top-five defence producers. Second, help Odisha find a respectable place in the global defence manufacturing industry. Besides, there are plans to venture into healthcare as well,” he said.
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