The Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor has attracted investment proposals of Rs 3,123 crore from the Ordinance Factory Boards (OFB), defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and private sector units.
Lockheed Martin and LMW, majors in the sector from abroad, have also expressed their intention to invest, said the central government at the launch event here on Sunday.
This was one of two such corridors announced in Union Budget 2018-19, the other being in Uttar Pradesh (officially launched last August, at an event in Aligarh).
The corridor is also named Tamil Nadu Defence Production Quad, as the nodal cities form a quadrilateral. Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli are the nodes.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while announcing the launch of various projects and products, said the Centre would provide full support for growth of military-related production in the corridor.
Of the proposals, OFB has announced plans to invest Rs 2,305 crore over five years. Of that, Rs 1,640 crore would go into the Heavy Vehicle Factory at Avaddi, near Chennai, and Rs 350 crore into the engine facility in its Trichy facility.
Among the DPSUs, Bharat Electronics (BEL) has said it will invest Rs 140 crore in various projects; BEML for around Rs 40 crore and Bharat Dynamics for Rs 150 crore. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders has said it would invest Rs 15 crore, including into Artificial Intelligence-enabled products and supporting of three start ups.
Lockheed Martin has said it would engage with the Indian aerospace and defence industry in the corridor. It had earlier joined hands with Tata Advanced Systems to produce in India.
"We have already engaged with nearly a dozen companies in Chennai and Coimbatore. We have identified seven of these as potential manufacturers of future F-16 (the fighter plane) products," said Vivek Lall, vice-president at Lockheed Martin.
Alpha Design Technologies, recently acquired by Adani Enterprises, has said it would be investing around Rs 100 crore in acquiring land, for expansion. TVS Defence has proposed an investment of Rs 30 crore, initially to manufacture safety and protective solutions for the defence forces. Datta Patterns has announced investment of Rs 75 crore, if it gets orders from the military.
The defence minister also launched the CODISSIA Defence Innovation and Incubation Centre in Coimbatore. This is to support small enterprises to expand and contribute for defence indigenisation. The Centre expects at least 15 such products to be so indigenised.
The minister also launched several products of OFB, HAL and BEL on Sunday.
India's export of ‘restricted’ defence items was expected to cross Rs 10,000 crore in 2018-19, said Ajay Kumar, secretary, department of defence production. It was Rs 4,500 crore last year.
He added that the country had exported over Rs 20,000 crore worth of aerospace components, expected to grow with establishment of the corridors.