In an interview with Defenseworld.net, Khalil Rahman, CEO, Atlas Elektronik India talked about the company's on-going partnerships, local production and the company's latest technologies.
DW : With the launch of a subsidiary in India, how will this help your company’s pitch for the Indian Navy’s Project-75I submarine programme?
Khalil Rahman: As we all know, India has a very, very ambitious program of shipbuilding, both surface ships and submarines. As such no major company can afford to ignore the Indian market. We have created a subsidiary in India which will enable us establish a long-term footprint both commercial and technical in the country. As for Project- 75I, our partner, HDW are the platform manufacturers. Our involvement and opportunity for this programme will depend upon the success of HDW in P-75I. Besides, Atlas Elektronik GmbH in Germany is currently looking forward to be a part of some of the ambitious Indian navy programmes in the areas of sonars and torpedoes apart from the long term expansion programmes such as Project 75 India. We are interested in all programmes where our technology has an application
DW : Is local production on the cards now that you’ve launched your India venture?
Khalil Rahman: It is no secret that the Indian government wants to create a large indigenous manufacturing base in the country. One of our aims in the country is to develop an indigenous solution, which enables us to compete in the Indian market. Atlas Elektronik India is looking at building a coalition of partners in India that will include both the public sector and the private sector, the shipyards and indeed organizations like DRDO to help the Indian industry to develop localized solutions or solutions that are adapted to the needs of the Indian market.
DW : Can you tell us about the partnerships you will be targeting?
Khalil Rahman: We are in the process of negotiating or having discussions about MOUs and partnerships with key industry players. We have already some on-going partnerships. So, for example on the portable diver detection sonar- we are partnered with Larsen & Toubro. We are also in talks with BEL to see whether we can integrate them into our global supply chain. As we know, BEL is currently the main company in India, which has sonar transducer manufacturing capability. Besides, the market for torpedoes remains very large in India, both heavy weight and lightweight. Atlas Elektronik in fact is the only European manufacturer that has the complete range of technologies. The company owns the IP on everything from the tip of the torpedo to the casket. So we have some really unique technologies that we are willing to share with India and we are talking to various partners including the DRDO. We are looking at developing partnerships with India in order to allow India to develop an indigenous torpedo that integrates aspects of our technology.
DW : Last year, Atlas pitched for the Indian Navy torpedo upgrade. What is the current status of this project?
Khalil Rahman: The project is in the final stages of evaluation by the Indian MoD.
DW : With a wide range of autonomous mine-hunting and mine-sweeping capabilities, will you be offering this technology to the Indian Navy? Have they expressed any interest in this or any other capability?
Khalil Rahman: Mine-hunting is a particular area of expertise for ATLAS. We have even successfully sold mine countermeasure technology to the US Navy. Of course we would be interested in offering this locally and will be pursuing such programmes as they occur in India.
DW : Have you responded to any other RFI besides the shallow water craft request?
Khalil Rahman: We typically respond to all RFIs in the underwater area. Some of these are public RFIs, some we are invited to respond specifically by the Navy.
DW : Can you elaborate on your underwater warfare capabilities and how it figures with the India subsidiary?
Khalil Rahman: Atlas provides the underwater sensors, (i.e. the sonar systems) the command system and we integrate missiles and other effectors into our command systems. We also provide torpedoes. All of this adds up to a complete underwater warfare capability. The Indian subsidiary is acting as the bridge-head for the German company into the country and will provide technical and logistical support to customers and to the German parent company. ATLAS India will also act as the main point of contact for developing industrial partnerships with Indian companies.