Alpha Design Technologies — leap forward

Show: Defexpo India - Day 1 By R. Chandrakanth
Colonel H.S. Shankar (Retd)

Alpha Design Technologies Private Limited (ADTL) which started as a three-man company in 2004 has grown from strength to strength under the dynamic leadership of Colonel H.S. Shankar (Retd). There is no looking back and the company which has a strength of 825 personnel (with 621 engineers in the age bracket of 22 to 29 years, most of them in R&D) is totally synced into the ‘Make in India’ initiative and is way ahead in the programme. And there is no stopping.

It has two factories at Bangalore, one at Hyderabad and with its Integration/Installation/Marketing Centre at Delhi, Alpha is in the forefront of defence equipment R&D, manufacture and supply to defence forces and para-military forces. ADTL has excellent technology partnership with various DRDO Labs, DPSUs and OEMs from abroad.

Strong R&D base

Alpha has a large number of its own in-house, exotic, R&D projects (self-funded!) such as missile RF seekers, SDR, SDR-based radio relays, tactical access switch, ULSB Mk III, SATCOM equipment and other co-developed projects such as IFF, missile launch detection systems (MILDS), inertial navigation systems, thermal imager based (cooled and uncooled) sights — both as hand-held and rifle/carbine mounted, thermal imager based tank fire control systems (manufactured as part of offsets), laser target designators, missile launch detection systems and simulators are some of the key success stories — which has resulted in the high growth of the company. The new product lines are with large sized UAVs, EW subunits, Su-30 airframes, Radomes for AWACS, etc.

With the Government of India’s thrust of ‘Make in India’ getting into focus more and more, ADTL is poised for further giant leap forward in the near future.

Colonel Shankar states: “There will always be cynics who can find fault with anything. I am one who finds good in everything, particularly when the going is good for our company, Alpha Design Technologies Private Limited (ADTL) and Indian defence private sector MSMEs.”

Colonel Shankar adds: “Take our case, we started in 2004 as a three-man company with sales of 30,000 in the first year. After 12 years, we are 825 strong and have notched up a sales 362 crore sales turnover and with an order book close to 1,406.93 crore for the next three to four years!.”

Success is due to 24x7, 365 days a year hard work, strong R&D base and effective collaboration with DRDO, PSUs and well-known partners from abroad, he states and adds that with the success story, ADTL is focusing on giving a major thrust to skill development.

Working with educational institutions

It is already working with various colleges/technical institutions in conducting three credit courses on Defence Technologies and also becoming the supporting industry to provide firm platform for the budding defence R&D and production engineers to take up specific projects, mentored by experienced top echelon of ADTL. ADTL also funds the entrepreneurs to develop critical technologies in ADTL’s R&D labs and successful units get joint IP rights between entrepreneurs and ADTL. This is true ‘Start-up India’ to ensure success of ‘Make in India’.

Support sought for MSMEs

Col.onel Shankar states that however, to make India’s defence manufacturing sector more robust, following areas are to be given more priority:


    —   Quick allocation of R&D funding for various projects, both by the Ministry of Defence and Directorate General of Science and Technology.
    —   For the above, both should set goals for spending, say, at least 100 crore per year to start and reach 500 crore per year by the year 2020.
    —   Process and procedure for selection of projects should be quick and transparent.


    —   Offsets: The main purpose of Offsets enunciated by MoD is to develop modern defence manufacturing infrastructure. These facilities, it is claimed, already exists in various DPSUs and major private sector industries, such as Tatas, L&T, M&M, Bharat Forge, etc, hence they may not require Offset orders to develop their facilities. However, MSMEs — where ‘core’ technologies actually exists — need to improve the manufacturing infra structure. Hence Offset policy of the MoD should really be reserved for MSMEs with the intention of ‘Micro’ industries to become ‘Small’, ‘Small’ to become ‘Medium’ and ‘Medium’ to become ‘Large’ industries in the next four to five year period of time.
    —   Quality: There is a need to improve quality processes, standards in MSMEs, including availability of ESS facilities to be established at central location either by the MoD or the Ministry of MSME.

Funding: All banks ask for collateral guarantees (such as land, buildings, etc.) from MSMEs to sanction fund and non-fund based limits. This is not a problem for large-scale private sector units or DPSUs. However, MSMEs cannot provide it (other than CEO’s/Directors private houses which do not fetch large amount, either!!). Government of India should issue suitable guidelines to banks to accept corporate/institutional guarantees for providing (at low rate of interest) loans, fund and non-fund based limits.