Top Defense Companies in India

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This is the updated list of India’s top Defence Companies that is listed in Share Market. This includes Govt. and Private sector arm manufacturers.  India finds itself in a challenging neighborhood. In such a scenario, our armed forces need to be well equipped. It’s vital that they have state-of-the-art defence equipment at their disposal. That’s a must for protecting our sovereignty against hostile foreign powers. Our brave defence forces are laying down their lives to protect our nation from the evil designs of our enemies.

To make sure that our defence forces dominate our enemies, the defence equipment that’s provided to them should be absolutely top of the notch. Manufacturing such defence equipment that helps our forces challenge and look our enemies into the eyes needs a lot of resources.

India is planning to invest over $130 billion to modernize their military in coming 5 years which is a huge budget – source.

This is where defence equipment manufacturing companies come into the picture. There are many companies, state-owned and private with a rich history of manufacturing defence equipment for our brave forces. Through their storied journey over the decades, they have now successfully established themselves as a force to reckon with in the defence equipment manufacturing sector.

We take you through the leading Defence companies in India that keep our courageous men of defence going. We begin with the state-run companies.

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)

DRDO began on its rich history with 10 laboratories in the year 1958. The company has grown phenomenally and emerged as a defence behemoth operating with as many as 50 laboratories today which boasts of many achievements. Credited with having manufactured 500 defence products, DRDO is under the Defence Ministry of India with its headquarters in Delhi. DRDO caused a sensation with its ‘Mission Shakti’ destroying a defunct satellite in low-earth orbit in a matter of just three minutes.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

Established in December 1940 by Walchand Harichand as Hindustan Aircraft with the then Mysore Government, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s ambitious aim was to manufacture aircraft on our soil. After becoming a shareholder in 1941, the Indian Government made a complete acquisition the following year, 1942. HAL created ripples in the media after announcing its ambitious 10-12 tonne attack helicopter project with 2027 as the target rollout year. It’s touted as India’s answer to the iconic American Apaches.

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)

The Ordnance Factory Board founded almost two centuries back is one of the biggest defence organizations managed by the Indian government. Having been set up by the British as the Gun Carriage Agency at Cossipore it’s today a defence equipment manufacturing behemoth with 41 factories. The company was originally set up to manufacture arms and ammunition for the British. Today, the company serves the Indian defence forces with nine training institutes manufacturing military vehicles, parachutes and other critical defence equipment.

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)

After having been launched in 1954, BEL has established itself as a government PSU that’s critical to our defence equipment. BEL is an important defence equipment manufacturer with eight manufacturing units spread across India in locations like Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Pune & Chennai. With an approximate turnover of Rs.11,700 crores as of 2018-19, Bharat Electronics Limited employs 10,000 employees. BEL recently entered into a deal with DRDO to manufacture radars for weapon detection and managed to beat firms from Poland and Russia.

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)

Founded in 1970 in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, Bharat Dynamics Limited is a critical defence unit manufacturing ammunition and missile systems that are vital for our defence forces. BDL made its presence felt by producing the anti-tank guided missile, SS11B1 after engineers were drawn from Indian Ordnance Factories, DRDO and the aerospace industries. BDL manufactures its critical defence equipment at its three manufacturing units in Hyderabad, Bhanu, and Vishakapatnam. It recently handed over the Varunasastra, an anti-submarine torpedo.

We now move on to the privately-owned companies.

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL)

A wholly owned defence equipment manufacturing subsidiary of the mammoth Tata Group, the Tata Advanced Systems was founded in the year 2007 in Hyderabad, Telangana. It employs 3000 people and the company was in the news for having successfully bid for a project involving the manufacture of air-to-air refueling equipment for their British client, Cobham. Missile systems are the company’s focus area and the company is engaged in developing subsystems for three of India’s major missile programs.

Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS)

Mahindra Defence Systems foray into manufacturing equipment for the armed forces began with the licensed manufacture of the Willys Jeeps, a World War II icon. The company was founded in the year 1947. The license with Willys made them importers, assemblers, and adapters of the jeeps making them a prominent player in the Indian defence sector. The company made a landmark contribution to the armed forces when it manufactured a line of armored vehicles for our defence forces in the year 2012. MDS has emerged as a specialist in the manufacture of armored vehicles.

Larsen and Toubro Limited (L&T)

The engineering and construction behemoth, Larsen and Toubro Limited has been into defence equipment manufacturing for the last three decades now. It designs, develops, and manufactures defence equipment of a large variety that includes missiles, launchers for weapons, surface warfare equipment, and more at its Gujarat manufacturing unit. Their most ambitious project is the construction of submarines for the Indian Naval Forces. It also manufactures patrol vessels and warships as well as communication systems and avionics. L&T also has eight R&D centers in various locations at Powai and Bangalore.

Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS)

The Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems is the result of a joint venture involving the Pune-based industrial giant, the Kalyani Group, and the Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel. KRAS has a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Hyderabad, Telangana covering 8500 sq.ft. The Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems has made its presence felt after bagging a $100 million order for the manufacture of 1000 Barak-8MRSAM missile kits meant for both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. This was incidentally, the company’s first order. The company hopes to be a major contributor to the Indian Government’s ‘Made in India’ initiative.

Ashok Leyland

The Mumbai-based business conglomerate, the Hinduja Group is the owner of Ashok Leyland with the defence unit being its subsidiary. The Stallion trucks, its flag bearer offering is critical to the operations of the Indian Army. The company has manufactured as many as 70,000 of these heavy trucks and successfully carved out a niche for itself in the defence equipment manufacturing sector as a major privately owned player. Ashok Leyland is credited with having developed the 4×4 armored personnel carrier, the Stallion Kavach. The company is poised to provide tracked vehicle mobility solutions for the Indian Army to help it upgrade its BMP and MBT fleet.

List of Top 10 Defence Companies in India

Sl. No. Company Establishment Head Office Website
1 Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) 1958 New Delhi https://www.drdo.gov.in/home
2 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) 1940 Bengaluru https://hal-india.co.in/
3 Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) 1712 Kolkata https://ofb.gov.in/
4 Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) 1954 Bengaluru http://bel-india.in/
5 Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) 1970 Hyderabad https://bdl-india.in/
6 Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) 2007 New Delhi https://www.tataadvancedsystems.com/
7 Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) 1947 New Delhi https://www.mahindraarmored.com/
8 Larsen and Toubro Limited (L&T) 1938 Mumbai https://www.larsentoubro.com/
9 Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) N/A Maheshwaram Mandal Shamshabad http://www.krasindia.com/
10 Ashok Leyland 1948 Chennai https://www.ashokleyland.com/

Conclusion

In its quest to emerge as a great power, India needs to have strong-armed forces equipped with cutting-edge equipment. Our list of the top 10 defence manufacturijng companies in India gives you a peek into the companies that are major contributors to making India’s armed forces strong and capable.

Recently, major private companies, industrial giants in their own right have made their foray into manufacturing defence equipment for the Indian armed forces. A few such major entities have entered into collaborations with government-owned companies to provide state-of-the-art defence equipment for the Indian forces. Some of these companies are also entering into joint ventures with foreign companies to make the latest defence technology available to the Indian forces.

The Indian Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative has offered all defence equipment manufacturing companies a great opportunity to contribute to making the Indian armed forces strong and dominant. New projects are being launched and still newer projects announced that promise to equip the Indian forces with the best weapons available. Competition has risen as has the benchmark with the entry of private companies into the field.

The private companies could contribute by making the defence equipment manufacturing process more efficient. With major acquisitions of critical defence equipment in the pipeline, including the ‘mother of all defence deals’ the acquisition of 114 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, the road ahead for Indian defence equipment manufacturing companies is filled with promising opportunities. Things look set for a boom with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative about to take wings. Foreign companies are lining up to set up manufacturing bases in India in partnership with Indian companies as the nation looks to establish itself as a major defence equipment manufacturing hub.

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