In an Interview with Defenseworld.net, Sanjay Handu – Director, Aerospace Defence and Marine Business unit, TE discusses his company’s growing presence in the defense and aerospace sector.
DW : What kind of engineering solutions does your organization provide for the defense sector?
Sanjay Handu : From the intense weather of the Arctic Circle to the extreme temperatures on Mars, TE’s quality of design and manufacturing makes connectivity possible in environments where failure is not an option. Curiosity Rover on Mars – “The Ultimate Connectivity Challenge”: TE’s KILOVAC high-voltage relay is being used in the Curiosity Rover to help carry out the mission to look for evidence of past or present habitable environments on Mars. TE’s relay has a light-weight, compact design that makes it ideal for the rover and suitable for extreme temperatures and other severe environmental factors. Aircraft Efficiency through Lightweight Innovations – TE works with the entire airline supply chain to create weight-saving interconnection technologies for a lighter aircraft. TE’s connector designs produce a weight savings of 20% to 30% which creates a more efficient aircraft and reduces fuel consumption and emissions. TE is at the forefront of technology for unmanned vehicle systems in both military and non-military applications (eco and wildlife as well as police use). TE provides connectivity for drones to function at high and medium altitudes through its connectors, wire, fiber and harnessing components. TE works with India’s Defense establishments through strategic Partnerships; harvesting the technology for local players. Significant TE content in Govt’s Missile Projects to battle tanks and submarines, Fighter Jets, Rafael Aircrafts etc. Bringing Innovation in products in meeting end-to-end challenge of Size, Weight and Power ( SWaP): Mil Aero Connectors, Fibre Optics, ruggedised UAV Connectors, Kilovac Relays in NASA’s Curiosity Rover Mission
DW : Can you tell us more about the connectivity solutions TE provides for the defense sector?
Sanjay Handu : Our play in the defense sector is across a wide range of solutions. If we look at Missile Defense TE supplies a wide range of products from connectors and back shells to components for missiles and launchers. We also offer high performance, small form factor board-level relays for the demanding missile environment. For applications involving high speed and high density connectors, we offer a multitude of options for connectors with .050 and .025 inch center-to-center spacing. We are developing a new modular approach to connectors and our options will include signal, power, RF, fiber and high speed in one small form factor connector. We design and rigorously test our products.
DW : Can you elaborate on your aerospace solutions? Who are your major clients?
Sanjay Handu : Space applications mean extreme conditions and demand the best in lightweight composition, innovative design and reliability. Our Aerospace solutions are segregated into commercial aerospace and military aerospace. High performance convertors, fiber optics and wire harnessing products, TE products cater to the demands of the unmanned vehicle market. TE products are built to last and are designed to meet rigid military requirements while increasing reliability and overall system performance in the military aerospace segment. High performance military and commercial RF offerings range from small form factor to larger discrete connectors with speeds up to 40 GHz. In military aerospace, the demands of the fixed, rotary wing and UAV markets depend on products that are reliable, maintainable, cost effective and technologically advanced and that are why TE is an integral part of this growing industry.
DW : Can you tell us about the products and solutions you offer the Indian military marine platform? What does it entail?
Sanjay Handu : Military marine combat vessels, submarines and other ships operate under rigorous demands. TE components meet those demands, helping marine crafts operate safely, reliably, and efficiently. Military marine markets serve Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Ships, Auxiliary and Support Ships, Submarines, Surface Combatant Vehicles. Some of the products we have specialized are Cable Ties and Sealing Products, Dipping Sonar Cables, High Performance Relays and Contactors, High Speed Copper Cables, Maintenance and Repair Kits and Multi-Conductor Cables. Marine Wire and Cable (esp. control, instrumentation (including Engineering Proposal Design (EPD)), Rugged Optics, Signal and Power Connectors, Subsea Cabling solutions, Terminals and Splices, Tubing etc.
DW : In terms of marine defense, what new avenues are you exploring? And how will it complement your existing services?
Sanjay Handu : Design for Navy Specific Requirements achieving Unique balance of properties between electrical , physical, environmental, low fire hazard and flame retardant properties, controlled resistance to EMI (electromagnetic interference) etc. Bespoke designs to meet customer specific requirements.
DW : What kind of trend do you foresee emerging from the marine and aerospace industries?
Sanjay Handu : Controlling aircraft design and operation costs are the two areas of continuous development in the aerospace industry. Indian Navy over next decade plans to acquire a range of additional warships, including frigates, destroyers, corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, Landing Platform Docks, survey vessels & submarines. The Indian Coast Guard too is all set to double its force levels and manpower in the next few years and triple it in the next decade. About 70 of these CG assets being added should be vessels like Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels, Interceptor boats and inshore patrol vessels. With recent changes in policy guidelines some defence shipbuilding work should also be shifting to private guys like Pipavav, L&T & ABG etc. who also have been issued licenses for Warship building and have also being forming JVs with guys like MDL, Mumbai. In Aerospace the process of transformation has begun and potential opportunities (both public and private), in the “design to build” lifecycle are tremendous. India’s engineering workforce, its rapidly developing engineering services/R&D expertise and its geo-position in South East Asia, positions it as a potential global hub for both manufacturing and MRO. From a Manufacturing viewpoint, the liberalization of civil aviation policies, Defence offset requirements, a strong domestic manufacturing base, cost advantages, a well-educated talent pool and the ability to leverage IT competitiveness are all drivers to the growth plan. Additionally, the globalization of MRO services, manpower cost competitiveness; locational advantages and the presence of specialist capabilities combine to make India a potential global/regional MRO hub. Accordingly the domestic capability is being significantly enhanced, through extensive tie-ups, joint ventures and technology transfers.
DW : Does TE intend to fully focus on the defense as well as commercial sector in India?
Sanjay Handu : Yes, these will remain important focus areas for us. We have been focussing on both defense and commercial for some time now. Our commercial, defense and marine offerings include a comprehensive family of rugged fiber optic products designed with cost and performance in mind. Our fibre products feature easy alignment and low sensitivity to thermal changes and contamination. Strong, precision connector housings mean durable connections with low loss and repeatable performance. The fibre optic connectors and contacts are operating reliably in aerospace, avionics, military and marine communications, security systems, and offshore exploration.
DW : Who are your major competitors in the sector? And how do you plan on expanding your presence in the market?
Sanjay Handu : We design, manufacture and market approximately 500,000 products for more than 150,000 customer locations in a broad array of industries including automotive; data communication systems and consumer electronics; telecommunications; aerospace, defense and marine; medical; energy; and lighting. We bring a performance advantage to every technology, product and service we provide, including connector systems, relays, fiber optics, circuit protection devices, wire and cable, touch screens, heat shrink tubing, racks and panels, network interface devices, and undersea telecommunication systems. So with a large un-penetrated rural market and a large overall potential with a very high population of about 1.2 billion, the Indian market is poised for a strong growth in the years to come.