Defense industry bright spark: MKU

MKU came into DefExpo on a high. They've just completed deliveries of 59,000 light weight bullet proof jackets to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) under a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order worth INR 100 Crore. And now they plan to make Night Vision Devices.

There’s at least one defense company that’s had a good DefExpo 2012. It’s Indian, it’s smaller than most other defense companies we’ve heard of, and most of us haven’t heard of it. MKU is a ballistics protection systems producer (They make bullet-proof vests, armor plating, helmets) and a registered NATO supplier to boot, and is the only company in India with AS 9100 certification for aircraft armoring & solutions. This is a big deal as it’s the only quality management standard specific to the aerospace industry.

MKU came into DefExpo on a high. They’ve just completed deliveries of 59,000 light weight bullet proof jackets to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) under a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order worth INR 100 Crore. These jackets will be distributed to other paramilitary forces by the CRPF, depending on their requirement. MKU won the contract in April 2010 just after the last DefExpo, beating eight other companies.

At DefExpo, they made two announcements. The first, their plan to set up a facility for the manufacture of Night Vision Devices and second, a fifty-fifty tie-up with Germany’s EIS Electronics GMBH to manufacture cable harness products. Both companies will invest USD 5 million into the joint venture.

Unsurprisingly, Neeraj Gupta, the Managing Director of MKU Pvt. Ltd looked pleased when asked about having completed the MHA order. Smiling modestly, he says they’re looking forward to servicing more requirements of the paramilitary and armed forces, with their first order satisfactorily completed.

He’s also looking forward to their new project: the launch of its indigenously developed range of Night Vision Devices (NVDs), with an investment of over INR 100 Crore in the Ist phase, alone. His company plans to manufacture Image Intensifier devices at their facility in Kanpur and is taking on technology from an international company. The range will include Monocular, Binocular (Single Tube and Twin Tube, for 3D vision at night) night vision devices as well as Night Sights for weapons.

Gupta says the devices will have an endurance of 40 hours, and can be helmet or weapon-mounted.

And yes, they work. MKU put up an ‘experience room’ at their stall at DefExpo, a completely dark area. Once inside, your correspondent was completely blind. Holding up the image intensified Monocular NVD, which enhances all available traces of light, everything was clear to the sight.

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Follow Saurabh Joshi on Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/saurabhjoshi Saurabh is a journalist based in New Delhi, India who has worked in print, television as well as internet news media. Besides defense and strategy, his past assignments have included reporting from Kashmir, coverage of terror strikes as well as election coverage from all over India. He has a Bachelors degree in Journalism (Honors) as well as a law degree (LLB), both from the University of Delhi.
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