BENGALURU: Chants of the outsourcing mantra have reached the corridors of power and the Centre is now officially pushing defence firms to increasingly look outside. And, Karnataka, much like it lead the IT revolution will lead the outsourcing wave in the defence and aerospace sector. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said: “We will have the PSUs and Ordnance factories to have a fixed percentage of their business/projects outsourced.” Stating that move will only help defence PSUs and Ordnance factories become more efficient, Parrikar said: “There will be strict targets given. When they can involve the domestic industry, it is only going to benefit everybody, it will also reduce timelines of projects,” he said. Indian domestic manufacturers, unlike a decade-or-so ago aren’t struggling to meet quality standards, with several of them having already bagged big deals from international firms and several others in the pipeline. The number of defence manufacturing licences granted is another major indication of the trust in the domestic industry, which was seen lacking in the past. From military-qualified rifle sights to cockpit upgradations, from simulators to electronic warfare systems, domestic firms are now eyeing several projects. There are a total of 342 such licences that are in operation in India presently, and experts say that Karnataka with 21% (72) of these licences will lead the outsourcing trend in the defence sector, much like it did in the Information Technology (IT) sector. Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies, Dynamatic Technologies, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), Maini are some of the firms that have benefitted out of such outsourcing already. But several of these deals are from big private firms. Alpha Design Chairman and Managing Director Col (retd) HS Shankar: “The move is positive and will go a long way in creating a more vibrant ecosystem in the country, in line with the Make-in-India programme.” Among the strategic programmes, Alpha has done the upgrading of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fighter jet Su-30, about 1,000 numbers of the T-72 tank upgradation, and the cockpit upgradation for 90 Mi-17 choppers. “Besides we’ve bagged a deal through HAL for making 110 door structures for the A320 aircraft,” Shankar said. TASL will be making components for military helicopters that India is looking to buy. And several other firms are waiting for orders in the pipeline through the offset route from Dassault’s Rafale. Anurag Garg, Director and Aerospace & Defence Lead with PricewaterhouseCoopers had, that this year the industry is hoping for some big announcements like the FICV (futuristic infantry combat vehicle) show meaningful progress. Parrikar, speaking about the FICV said that there were some issues between companies participating in the project and that he is meeting them next week.