Special Correspondent

The new facility will be a full-fledged cruise missile assembling unit

BrahMos to invest heavily in the unit

It will also make components for missiles

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The India-Russia joint venture cruise missile manufacturing establishment BrahMos Aerospace on Wednesday received the deed transferring to it the ownership of the State public sector Kerala Hitech Industries Limited (KELTEC).

BrahMos Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director A. Sivathanu Pillai and Principal Secretary for Industries T. Balakrishnan signed the deed in the presence of Industries Minister Elamaram Karim at a function here.

KELTEC renamed

With the takeover, KELTEC is being renamed BrahMos Aerospace (Thiruvananthapuram). The State government is getting up a public event here next month to formalise the transfer of its unit to the strategically significant India-Russia company. The date for the event will be finalised after ascertaining the convenience of Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Mr. Karim said.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sivathanu Pillai, who is also Chief Controller (R&D) of the Union government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said the new facility of BrahMos would be a full-fledged cruise missile assembling unit. It would also manufacture components required for the missiles.

Big future

He said this unit had a big future. For precision targeting, speed and range, the BrahMos missile, during repeated tests, had demonstrated its superiority over the cruise missiles of the United States. The Indian Navy had already expressed its intention to equip all its warships with the BrahMos. The Indian Army too would require them in large numbers. Many countries of the world were keen on acquiring BrahMos.

The missile was now being assembled at the company’s facility in Hyderabad. Dr. Sivathanu Pillai said the new facility in Thiruvananthapuram had become vital for the company because of the need to augment the production.

BrahMos would invest heavily in Thiruvananthapuram and its unit here would catalyse industrial growth in this part of the State, he said.

Nominal price

The State government is giving the assets of KELTEC to BrahMos for a nominal price of Re.1, considering the gesture not as a sacrifice, but as a decision in the interests of the company, its employees and overall industrial development in the area.

Several small and medium industrial units in the area would benefit from work that would be outsourced by BrahMos, Mr. Karim said.

KELTEC, in its existing form, had little future without heavy investment on new technologies, according to professional evaluation got done by the Industries Department. The company, earlier referred to the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, was being kept afloat these past few years with the help of periodical work orders from the ISRO and the DRDO.