EPC Sector, July 2023
These initiatives aim to promote self-reliance, reduce dependency on imports, and enhance domestic capabilities in various sectors, including defence. The efforts have yielded impressive results, with indigenous defence production reaching Rs.94,846 crore in 2021-2022. The unsung hero behind India's success in indigenous defence production is the Indian EPC sector.
The Importance of EPC in Defence Production
The deployment of indigenous defence capabilities requires not only cutting-edge knowhow and innovation but also expertise in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC). The EPC sector plays a critical role in providing the necessary infrastructure, skilled workforce, and essential materials for defence production. Let's explore the key contributions of the EPC sector in various aspects of India's indigenous defence capabilities:
The use of indigenous metals in India's defence production is important as it helps reduce India's reliance on imported materials. Some of the most important indigenous metals used in India's defence production include:
- Steel - India is one of the world's largest producers of steel, and this material is used in a wide variety of defence applications, including tanks, ships, and aircraft.
- Aluminium - Aluminium is another important metal used in defence production. It is lightweight and strong, making it ideal for use in aircraft and other vehicles.
- Titanium - Titanium is a lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant metal that is used in a variety of defence applications, including jet engines and armour plating.
- Nickel - Nickel is a strong and ductile metal that is used in a variety of defence applications, including armour plating and machine parts.
- Copper - Copper is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and it is used in a variety of defence applications, including electrical wiring and heat sinks.
- Other Metals - India also has several other indigenous metals that are used in defence production, such as tungsten, chromium, and vanadium. These metals are used to make a variety of components, such as armour plating, gun barrels, and jet engines.
In addition to these metals, India also uses a few other materials in its defence production, including composites, ceramics, and polymers.
India's pre-existing chemicals infrastructure helped by providing a foundation of expertise and experience in the chemical industry, which is essential for the development of defence products. It had also created a network of suppliers and vendors who could provide the necessary materials and components for defence production, and it had pool of skilled workers who could work in the defence industry. These chemicals are essential to produce a wide range of defence-related products, such as ammunition, missiles, and aircraft.
India's chemical industry also has strong research and development (R&D) capability. This R&D capability has been used to develop new and improved chemicals for defence applications. For example, Indian scientists have developed new explosives that are more powerful and safer than traditional explosives. For example, Nuberg is the world’s number one EPC & LSTK player for Hydrogen Peroxide and Calcium Chloride and the number 2 EPC Company for Caustic Soda/Chloro-Alkali plants. Hydrogen Peroxide and Calcium Chloride are both used in a variety of defence equipment. Hydrogen peroxide is used in fuel cells, which are used to power some military vehicles. Calcium Chloride is used in de-icing and anti-icing systems, which are used to keep aircraft and other vehicles safe from ice and snow. In addition to these uses, Hydrogen Peroxide and Calcium Chloride are also used in a variety of other defence applications, such as decontamination, sensors, and lasers.
New-age Materials EPC
India's pre-existing new age materials capability has helped to improve the quality and performance of Indian-made defence products. This is because new age materials are often more advanced and sophisticated than traditional materials, and they can be used to create products that are lighter, stronger, and more durable.
- India has developed a new type of steel that is stronger and lighter than traditional steel. This steel is being used to manufacture tanks and armoured vehicles.
- India has also developed a new type of composite material that is stronger and more durable than traditional materials. This material is being used to manufacture new aircraft and missiles that are more resistant to damage.
- India is also working on developing new types of sensors and electronics that can be used in defence systems.
Rare Elements EPC
India is one of the world's leading producers of rare earth elements (REEs), which are essential for a wide range of defence applications, including magnets, lasers, and night vision devices. This reduces India's dependence on imports of REEs, which can be subject to supply disruptions or price volatility. These capabilities have helped to reduce India's dependence on imports, improve its technology, and increase its self-reliance.
The indigenisation of defence production in India is a complex and challenging process. The existing factories in India have played a significant role in this process, and helped to make India more self-reliant in defence production in significant ways such as:
- Providing a skilled workforce - The existing factories have a skilled workforce that has experience in manufacturing defence products. This has been a major asset in the indigenisation process, as it has allowed India to avoid the need to import skilled workers.
- Having the necessary infrastructure - The existing factories have the necessary infrastructure, such as machine tools and testing facilities, which are required for manufacturing defence products.
- Enabling large scale production - The existing factories have the capacity to produce defence products in massive quantities. This has been important for meeting the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
- Providing a platform for research and development - Many of the existing factories in India have research and development facilities. These facilities have been used to develop new defence products, as well as to improve the quality of existing products.
Nuberg EPC is one such leading Indian engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company with a strong focus on the defence sector. The company has a long history of delivering complex and challenging defence projects, and is a trusted partner of the Indian government and the Indian Armed Forces.
The EPC sector has been the hidden driving force behind India's success in indigenous defence production. Its contributions in metals, chemicals, new-age materials, factories, and rare elements have reduced import dependency, stimulated economic growth, and strengthened national security. With the Indian government's plans to invest $130 billion in defence modernization, the EPC sector will continue to play a crucial role in shaping India's position as a major player in the global defence arena.
© This article was first published in South Asia Defence Strategic Review, July 2023.