Panaji: Goa based Kineco Limited, one of India’s leading composite technology provider for defence, aerospace, railway and industrial sectors, recently flagged off India’s first ever commercial Sonar Dome, at the hands of State Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at its manufacturing facility situated at Pilerne Industrial Estate in the state.
Kineco’s Founder and Managing Director Shekhar Sardessai, in an exclusive interview to UNI, said Kineco as an industry partner along with R&DE E Pune jointly developed India’s First Indigenous Sonar dome which was unveiled at the Def Expo 2016.
”This was first among the two sonar domes which were delivered to Research & Development Establishment (Engineers), Pune, as a part of the development program, with the second Sonar dome delivered in 2018. There after both Sonar domes were subjected to stringent testing and extensive validation trials on board P15A Indian navy warship. Post successful validation Kineco was awarded ‘Transfer of Technology’ for manufacture of sonar domes from R&DE E in 2018, which enabled it to become a qualified supplier to Indian Navy. In 2019 Kineco bagged sizable order for seven Sonar domes from Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, the first of which was flagged Off by the Chief Minister on September 22, 2020,” he said, adding Kineco would be executing this order over the next three years, Mr Sardessai said.
When asked how does he see manufacturing of Sonar Domes by Kineco in the context of ‘Make In India’ initiative and ‘Amtanirbhar Bharat’, Mr Sardessai said the initiative would significantly boost manufacturing sector particularly in strategic areas such as defence where there was a utmost need for self-reliance.
”Our company having successfully executed multiple PPP (Public Private Partnership) with the defence establishments, expects to be the preferred manufacturing partner for critical defence equipment in the composite field on board prestigious defence platforms. Due to the embargo on defence imports of value upto 200 crores, medium scale enterprises in the manufacturing sector such as ours will benefit from increased business,” he said.
Mr Sardessai said the sonar domes would be supplied to the major shipyards who were awarded Purchase orders for construction of War Ships for the Indian navy.
On exports potential, he said Kineco saw significant potential in the export market for sonar domes and had been approached by global Tier 1 defence bidders from Germany, France and UK for partnering in manufacturing of Sonar equipments.
When asked had Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) announced by former Defence Minister Late Manohar Parrikar helped companies like Kineco to realise their dreams, Mr Sardessai said the development and commercialization of sonar dome through a PPP was one of the finest success stories of the Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) category of defence products as promoted under the strategic partnership model of DPP.
The Sonar Dome is a critical component of a Warship as it houses the Sonar (Sonar Navigation and Ranging) Array – which is considered as the eyes and ears of a Warship or Submarine, used for detection, navigation, and ranging. The Sonar Dome, manufactured by Kineco, was flagged off to its customer Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited Mumbai (MDL), where it will be mounted on the Indian Navy’s P15 Alpha Warship.
In 2012, Kineco was selected as an Industry Partner by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on a competitive basis and was awarded a prestigious development contract for the development of its first indigenous ‘Sonar Dome’. The first prototype was built by Kineco, after four years of rigorous R&D and the same was unveiled by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at Defence Expo 2016 held in Goa.
The Prototype was subject to stringent validation tests, followed by extensive sea trials onboard P15 Alpha Destroyer War Ship. The Sonar Dome, jointly developed by Kineco and DRDO successfully qualified for usage, not only on P15 Alpha but also P-15 Bravo warships.
Kineco was awarded a ‘Transfer of Technology’ (ToT) Agreement by DRDO at the hands of then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at DefExpo April 2018, that enabled it to become a qualified supplier to Indian Navy. Recently, the second ToT was handed over to Kineco by DRDO at the hands of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at DefExpo 2020.