Keysight Technologies, a leading Test and Measuring company has successfully concluded its 12th annual Aerospace and Defense Symposiums in New Delhi. The symposiums were attended by scientists, design engineers, application engineers and policymakers. The symposiums theme revolved round ‘reimagine next innovation in Aerospace and Defense’,and addressed the growing need for advanced test systems.
At the occasion Sandeep Kapoor, Country Head, Marketing, India and Regional Head Aerospace Defense Marketing – EMEAI and Mombasawala Mohmedsaeed, General Manager, Applications, Keysight Technologies in a candid conversation with Devendra Kumar, Editor, ELE Times affirmed the importance of delivering mission critical results using accurate test and measurement tools. Excerpts from the interview.
ELE Times: What is the focus of Aerospace and Defence Symposium?
Sandeep Kapoor:The Aerospace and Defense Symposium is in its’ 12th edition now. Every passing year we see it growing bigger and bigger. It is a three-city event in India –across Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi.
For the past 3 years, our focus has been to support the Aerospace and Defence ecosystem with innovations designed, developed and manufactured locally. We have created our ecosystem based on the case studies and models observed across the globe and also on the experiences and challenges shared by our customers. That is also how we have identified the subjects and locations. For example, in Hyderabad – our focus has been on electronic warfare, in Bangalore – focus has been on creating space technology and in Delhi – our focus has been on drone decryption techniques, services, operations and maintenance. Here we are not only focusing on the problems but on technology, solutions and applications.
ELE Times: What do you mean by ‘focus on solution and application’, ultimately your aim is to sell the products?
Sandeep Kapoor:We keenly note the challenges and problem statements posed to our clients and provide them with the solutions using our equipment. For instance, in case of electronic warfare we give a live presentation and discuss algorithm using Keysight equipment.
Mombasawala:In the digital world, knowing about products is easy. But it is difficult to determine the entire testing ground. This is what we have been discussing in the AD Symposium. For example, if you are in Missile Development, you need material measurement and radar testing and measurement. When it is radar testing in the surveillance domain – you need to test it in its entirety. We help do that. We consider these as solutions. Today, however, the requirement has increased.Through this seminar we help our customer know how to automate multiple measurements, so that they have only one button to press for full configuration of their setup.
Moreover, we have recently launched a very powerful tool called ‘PathWave’ software, which we presented at this Symposium. It can control, configure, and program these measurements and run the level of tests the way customers want. It can actually talk to the radar while configuring the test.
ELE Times: During the last three years armed forces have very ambitious plans for their up gradation. What challenges are you facing complying with these plans?
Sandeep Kapoor: Let’s talk about the challenges first to set context. There are R&D challenges, and there are challenges associated with Make in India. These are the two predominant ones.
We know that there is a lot of R&D happening within the Indian ‘Space Sector’, while there is a launch of space vehicle almost every month. The aircraft industry has also started manufacturing in India. Of course, the industry has its accompanying challenges. To address this Keysight has been working with Global and Indian players for quite some time. We have a good grasp of the use case world-wide, with various forms of issues that different sets of people are facing.
We are supporting the customers of various segments within technology. As you know India is second to none in terms of research. We are helping them create effective designs of the space vehicles along with different types of electronic testing. Now this is very mission critical because Testing has become quite complicated and has gone to the micro-level, micro-second level, even nano-second level.
Second is Make in India: We have our focus on the manufacturing process and practices for aerospace and defense industry. We share case studies with our clients which are adopted by other countries. Our objective is that the customer should be able to use the equipment to its fullest. We use global expertise and our sophisticated portfolios and software that provide a lot of value to our systems.
ELE Times: Do you have anything in your mind about any challenges that you would like to discuss?
Mombasawala: ISRO, as you know have the ambitious projects of Chandrayaan and the Mangalyaan missions. There are challenges in its usage testing. We have the technology that will help them test usage. They are already testing electronics and other things along with our equipment.
ELE Times: Indian adversities are increasing. What is the government doing to push forward adoption of better technologies to counter them?
Sandeep Kapoor:They look at companies like Keysight to enable these kinds of technologies. Keysight plays a vital role in R&D and services. Our supplies are of the same grade throughout the world. It doesn’t differentiate between countries or regions. Whatever we supply in the USA, France, or England, it is the same that we supply in India as well. They have the capability to test the level of technologies which are prevalent and already in the works in the Aerospace defense sector around the world.
Mombasawala: Same is the case with testing Satellite technologies. The Indian organizations in the space sector are using our technologies which is very similar to the ones that the rest of the world uses. We work on the Pay-load area and not the launch vehicle. That’s where you have most of the electronics. We provide the value of enabling the equipment that they design.
ELE Times: You have been in this business for many years now. What style of functioning have you been observing in the last 2-3 years from the perspective of the defense forces?
Mombasawala: There has been increased transparency in the style of functioning. That is helping companies like ours to pivot towards very ethical practices from the very day we entered the country. This is helping us in two ways – it is transparent and it helps the development to be accelerated, and that makes the entire process a bit faster.
You should understand that India is a knowledge based country. There are standard practices which continue to maintain a healthy cycle. While we are adopting commercial practices that are more transparent, we are also continuing with our standard engineering practices. The combination of both of these is helping companies like Keysight.
ELE Times: Now the question is how much an increasing budget plays a role in your work, as we can see in India as well the budget has been increasing?
Sandeep Kapoor: Budgets are not increasing but rather spending is more focused now. The spending is to develop specific technology. Budgets are the same but the technology is moving faster than ever before. In India, the test and measurement market in all the sectors is growing dramatically. The reason for its growth is because people are adopting those technologies and making them cheaper. And they are still driving the market.
ELE Times: Let us know the product portfolio for surveillance and electronic warfare?
Sandeep Kapoor: We have enhanced our surveillance portfolio. Realizing that the threats are not only coming from aircrafts but also from small drones. How do you detect drones and classify them on their levels of danger that they pose? We have added our products to recognize such objects.
We have enhanced our software product portfolio. We are going to be a leader in electronic warfare. We are talking about the millimeter wave and even the higher-grade solution of electronic warfare, which is not just commercial but also radar electronic warfare and high frequency operations warfare. We have enhanced our portfolio to high frequency, high power and high bandwidth.
We are also world leaders in 5G testing. In India particularly, we see traction towards 5G and electrical vehicles tracking systems. We are also deeloping communication solutions along with very strategic auto solutions. That is a significant change in the past two years.
Industrial energy is classified in India as sunrise/emerging segments. They will play a significant role in the future as it is growing at a massive space. We are trying to work foreign partners to indulge deeply into this space and develop great solutions.
ELE Times: What is your impression about‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’?
Sandeep Kapoor: First, let me talk about Make in India. India is evolving rapidly in small scale manufacturing. Mobile manufacturing is one of those places where India is doing quite well. There might be a few big manufacturers in electronic warfare. There are companies which are manufacturing power devices.
There is a huge improvement in the manufacturing sector. Mobile manufacturing is an example. But there is also a debate about how much manufacturing is happening or how much assembly is happening.
Now moving on to Digital India – these types of constructions take their own time. Digital wallet is an example of Digital India and its services are doing quite well. Two-three years ago there was no region that was paying the municipal tax, now it is very easy to pay those taxes through digital wallets.
Mombasawala: For Make in India there are several dimensions that are working for us. The Indian market is bubbling up because of the level of wealth the people have acquired and they are getting richer. The buying power or purchasing power of the people is increasing and that is responsible for this bubble. This is compelling manufacturers in India to service their local clients better. That way we can see that the quanta of the movement is proportional to the level of the market bubble.
ELE Times: Is it not right that we are into mobile assembling than manufacturing?
Sandeep Kapoor: That is not completely correct because there are a lot of companies which have started working right from the component level. Component level manufacturing has started here as well. There are lot of people here in India in SKD (Semi Knock Down), which means the components come from elsewhere and you just need to assemble it. Another one is CKD or Complete Knock Down, which is an involved exercise. This is because the basic components come from outside, but you can take it, put it in, and calibrate with your product. Not just the inside components but also the body of the phones are getting manufactured in India.