HAL and L&T To Join In As Lead Industry Partners of ISRO For Making Space Rockets

​​By Anupama Airy

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to partner Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) in its plans to build space rockets, highly placed official sources told DefenceAviatonPost.com.

Sources said the names of the lead and minority industry partners will be announced following a Cabinet approval on the proposal of ISRO to forge a Joint Venture with an industrial consortium to build space rockets. While the exact details are being finalised, sources revealed that the plan is bring two major and five minor partners. They added that HAL and L&T may be given a 20% stake in this JV while Godrej, Walchand Industries Ltd may get around 3% each while 1.5% stake may be parked each with three small avionics partners.

ISRO’s Chairman A S Kiran Kumar in a recent interview had said that the space agency was already using significant amount of parts and sub-systems from the industry. For instance, he explained that in launch vehicles (space rockets), 80 per cent of its work is being done jointly with the Indian industry (including large companies like L&T and HAL as also a host of other small avionic companies.

Without revealing names, Kiran Kumar had confirmed that ISRO was looking to form a joint venture with an industry consortium (to build polar satellite launch vehicle or PSLV), with the first launch planned for 2020-21 under this proposed arrangement with the industry consortia.

Given the nature of the deal, officials from both HAL and L&T officials refused to comment. ISRO officials however said they were in the process of seeking formal government clearances and approvals for forging this JV with the industry partners. A senior government official confirmed that a cabinet note was being prepared for seeking appropriate approvals for this JV.

Meanwhile, as per reports, ISRO is also finalising a memorandum of understanding with BHEL to help develop low-cost lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles, a move which is one of the top priorities of the government on the back of India’s growing dependence on imported crude oil.

According to a recent report, under the MoU, BHEL will set up a production plant, while ISRO will provide support for scale-up, joint effort in cost optimisation, research and development for alternate chemistry and buyback commitment for these batteries. BHEL will develop the battery for commercial applications.

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