“Our Vision is to strengthen India’s defence capabilities under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ & ensure a larger global presence, for ourselves as well as for our Nation” — Rajesh Choudhary, Chairman & Managing Director, Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Limited, in conversation with SP’s Land Forces.
SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): Kindly give the readers of SP’s LAND FORCES a brief background and introduction of Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Ltd.
Rajesh Choudhary (Choudhary): Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd. (AWEIL) is one of the seven (7) new Defence PSUs formed by converting the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board into fully Government owned Enterprises. AWEIL was incorporated under the Companies Act 2013 on August 14, 2021 and commencement of business took place on October 1, 2021 as notified by DDP. It comprises of 8 production units: Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI), Small Arms Factory Kanpur (SAF), Gun & Shell Factory, Cossipore (GSF), Ordnance Factory Tiruchirapalli (OFT), Ordnance Factory, Kanpur (OFC), Field Gun Factory, Kanpur (FGK), Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur (GCF), and Ordnance Factory Project Korwa (OFPKR) and 1 non-production unit AWEIL Training Academy, Ishapore. The units have proven integrated facility for high-quality, cost-effective manufacturing of small, medium and large caliber weapon systems & ammunition hardware.
SP’s: Please tell us about how AWEIL has grown since being established in 2021?
Choudhary: I am happy to say that post corporatisation, AWEIL has been granted sufficient autonomy and flexibility to make decisions. This enables us to respond quickly to changing defence requirements and market dynamics, fostering agility and innovation. It is also helpful in strategic decision-making, accountability, and ensuring transparency in operation.
AWEIL is in its inception stage and sales of AWEIL from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 was 1076 Crore. Subsequently the sales rose to 1900 Crore in 2022-23. The target is 2750 Crore for 2023-24. We are targeting to double our turnover in next 3-4 years from the current level.
The order book of AWEIL has also improved. When we started the order book position was 4500 Crore approx. Post corporatisation we have received orders of 7000 approx. The current position is 8500 Crore & it is anticipated that our order book will be of crossing 10,000 Crore by end of 2023-24.
SP’s: Government of India is focusing on defence exports by Indian defence industries. Please brief us about AWEIL’s export and its strategies for global market presence.
Choudhary: I am extremely pleased to share that we are actively expanding our export base in international markets. In a short span of two years, AWEIL has made its presence in Europe, North America, Middle East & Africa. AWEIL is able to grab export orders of approx. 700 Crore which includes Small Arms & Medium Calibre weapons, Artillery Gun Spares, Ammunition Hardware, Repair of Artillery Guns & Spares of Small Arms.
AWEIL is effectively penetrating the global defence markets by focussing on competitive prices, promotion & marketing through direct engagement with potential customers, online webinars/seminars/B2B interactions, inviting Defence Attachés (DAs) of potential customer countries in India, engaging channel partners, participation in domestic and international exhibitions, regular follow up of leads received on Defexim portal, direct engagement with prospective customers & interaction with foreign OEMs.
SP’s: How does AWEIL support the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of Government of India in the defence sector?
Choudhary: At AWEIL, we take immense pride in our role as a cornerstone of the Indian defence manufacturing ecosystem and our unwavering commitment to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. The Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, a call for self-reliance and indigenisation, has been instrumental in shaping our vision and strategy, and we’ve been actively aligning our efforts with this transformative agenda.
“The indigenous content in the turnover of AWEIL is to the tune of 94 per cent which is one of the highest amongst DPSUs. Our vision is to make indigenisation level as high as 100 per cent & have NIL dependence on imports.”
It is a matter of pride for me to share that the indigenous content in the turnover of AWEIL is to the tune of 94 per cent which is one of the highest amongst DPSUs. Our vision is to make indigenisation level as high as 100 per cent & have NIL dependence on imports.
SP’s: It is well known that AWEIL manufactures multiple products which range from Artillery Guns to Pistols & Revolvers. What would you say is your flagship product?
Choudhary: I am proud to say that we have a very diverse portfolio of products ranging from Small Arms to Large Calibre, ammunition hardware etc. to cater to various defence needs. It is really a challenging task to single out one flagship product due to the significance and value of each product. However, there is one product that stands out as a symbol of our technological prowess and contribution to national defence and that is ‘DHANUSH’- 155 mm/45 Cal Artillery Gun System.
‘DHANUSH’ is our flagship product which showcases our engineering expertise, domain knowledge, vast experience, precision manufacturing capabilities, and commitment to deliver cutting-edge defence solutions. Dhanush Guns are designed to meet the stringent requirements of modern Artillery warfare, & providing our forces with a formidable advantage. Dhanush has nearly 94 per cent indigenous content. The Automatic Gun Alignment and Positioning System (AGAPS) makes Dhanush more accurate. AGAPS uses enhanced tactical computer, for on-board ballistic computations, a muzzle velocity radar to help minimise error, and an inertial navigation system-based sighting system which can get GPS updates.
Dhanush is also compatible with the Shakti Artillery Combat Command and Control System that integrates and automates all artillery operational functions from the Corps Fire Control Centre down to the Battery Command Post to create a networked environment for efficient use of firepower. We have also developed 52 calibre version and test fired it already.
SP’s: What are the core strengths of AWEIL?
Choudhary: I am proud to state that AWEIL has vast experience in manufacture of a very large variety of weapons including Pistols, Revolvers, Machine Guns, Rifles, Tank Gun Articles, Air Defence Guns, Naval Guns, Artillery Guns, Ammunition Hardware, with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. We have a highly skilled & dedicated man force, a very capable and competent R&D team which are our strength areas. These strengths in highly leveraged structure of DPSU are poised to grow at very high pace.