The pandemic period has been a particularly odd time. How has the A&D sector fared in the past year in your opinion? As an example, can you elaborate on how your organisation adapted to the industry low falls?
In many ways, the pandemic accelerated trends that we had already seen developing. However, with the A&D sector being risk-averse, the technologies that enabled these goals were nascent and yet to be proven at scale, so there was reluctance for widespread adoption. However, the pandemic sending shockwaves through the system, highlighted a need to control costs and better manage supply chains. Cyient recognised these demands early on and invested and restructured to better take advantage of the shift in demand.
There is a forecast of India becoming the global aerospace hub. Your opinion? How can the government aid company, such as yours, in the journey?
India becoming an aerospace hub is inevitable, but the question remains, when? Given the impacts of COVID on world travel, we believe that the government should look beyond large scale, global travel and seek to support growth in more regional operations, tangential markets (eg, urban air mobility) and provide incentives to small- & mid-sized Indian firms to better compete for components and systems for the next generation of aircraft that will be developed over the next decade.
Unmanned aircrafts are a hot topic both from India's commercial & defence (government) perspective. Does your organisation plan on venturing into this segment? If yes, what strategies do you plan to put in place to compete with preexisting players?
As UAS becomes more widely used in the military, the technological differentiation is less on the aircraft itself and more on the payloads and components the platform carries. The key for unmanned military systems is reducing size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C). The focus is less on the platform and more on what it carries as the aircraft itself is becoming more commoditised over time. The Urban Air Mobility market is very exciting, and we see a role to play in structural design, power systems, avionics, software development, aftermarket support, certification and test & evaluation.
There are a lot of start-ups entering India’s A&D segment. How can industry majors and start-ups collaborate to ensure India becomes the A&D hub for the globe?
It is unlikely that India will become THE hub for A&D, but it is certainly on its way to becoming A hub for A&D. The industry can learn from its peers abroad, for example, the US & European governments have set the tone by investing in technology incubation through programmes, like the Defense Innovation Unit, AFWERX, In-Q-Tel, Defence & Security Accelerator & Station F, by partnering with the industry to develop a network of technology start-ups that are then integrated into the industrial landscape. In India, these initiatives are either underfunded or sometimes prone to state/regional initiatives that may lack a country-wide vision for the future.
What does India in 2022 look like for the A&D sector, according to you? What strategies are instilled to ensure your organisation is a contributor to the Indian economy?
For commercial aerospace, the global market is expected to rebound, which will help across the board. Specific to India, the new demand for cost optimisation and the appetite for more digital solutions will be key drivers for growth. The firms that are quicker to scale and implement their solutions will have greater long-term success. We have already seen a significant adoption of our digital solutions and have built a digital business unit within Cyient to adapt and deliver with greater speed to the increased market demand. The path to success is less about new strategies and more about greater adoption, building scale and removing risk from customer’s operations.