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MPs get the lowdown on BrahMos working

S. Anandan
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First-hand knowledge:BrahMos Chief Executive Officer A. Sivathanu Pillai and Managing Director of BATL Rear Admiral (retd.) Julius Zacharias briefing Members of Parliament on the products of BATL.— Photo: Special Arrangement
First-hand knowledge:BrahMos Chief Executive Officer A. Sivathanu Pillai and Managing Director of BATL Rear Admiral (retd.) Julius Zacharias briefing Members of Parliament on the products of BATL.— Photo: Special Arrangement

A 10-member team of Parliamentary Standing Committee (Defence), led by Amarnath Pradhan, visited BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL), a subsidiary of BrahMos Aerospace, on Wednesday to take stock of the performance of the company that caters to the product requirements of India’s defence, aerospace, and nuclear industries.

During a conducted tour of the facility, they were shown a knocked-down version of the BrahMos missile, BrahMos air launcher designed and built by BATL, air launcher test facility, and the critical components of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile made by BATL, besides the company’s key products for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

The members were shown around the product fabrication facility and the upcoming missile integration complex.

“They were happy and appreciative of BATL’s skilled manpower and state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities,” sources said.

BrahMos Chief Executive Officer A. Sivathanu Pillai briefed them on the growth of the Indo-Russian joint venture as also the company’s vision for realising the country’s quest for self-reliance in the defence sector.

“Over the last four years, BATL has emerged to play a stellar role in three strategic industries. It alone manufactures titanium air bottles for ISRO. The company also makes L-40 tanks for use in the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and the thrust chamber for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). After being asked by the space agency to manufacture the thrust chamber for the indigenous cryogenic engines, BATL has made one and will be making three more initially,” the sources said. For the defence sector, BATL made Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile’s main motor chamber; Shaurya missile’s booster, which doubled up as the underwater booster for the Sagarika programme; and the combustion chamber for the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) ballistic missile.

BATL recently earned the singular distinction for successfully developing the technology-intensive and highly complex radio frequency quadrupole - proton accelerator - for BARC’s nuclear reactors.

For the BrahMos missile, besides the metallic and airframe components, it made the F3 assembly comprising warhead casing, fuel lines, and thrust chambers; nose cap; fins and wings; low-thrust booster; launcher container; and other critical components. “Barring the engine, everything is made here,” they maintained. The House committee also visited the Southern Air Command on Wednesday to gather information on its activities and growth plans.

Air Marshal S.P. Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, briefed them on the command and the defence installations in Thiruvananthapuram.

The SAC played a stellar role in providing the platforms for quick deployment of combat forces to neutralise threats in peninsular India and the island territories, Air Marshal Singh told them.

On a tour of the State to review the functioning of various agencies, the panel members were briefed by Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, on the command’s operational and training roles in Kozhikode on Tuesday.

Rear Admiral L.V.S Babu, Deputy Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala; T.K.S. Chandran, Deputy Inspector-General and District Commander of Coast Guard; and Rear Admiral C.S. Patham, Additional Director-General of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), had also apprised the committee of the mandate and performance of their respective organisations.

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