With production facilities in India and Germany,MKU, the India-based manufacturer of ballistic protection for personnel, vehicles (ground and air) and electro-optic devices has reported strong demand in retrofitting helicopters. As domestic unrest has become more widespread,MKUsaid, search-and-rescue missions have taken on a more dangerous tone, creating an increased need for armored protection. Having completed more than 250 helicopter retrofits, primarily in Southeast Asia, South America and Africa,MKU(Hall3 StandC8) finds its services in increasing demand.
“Relief agencies and air ambulances often go through firing zones, as do fire service helicopters and transporters,” said Sharad Khandelwal,MKUinternational sales director, toAIN. As the world undergoes a new order, commercial and business aircraft, too, are looking for armor retrofitting, he added. “Threats generally happen during takeoff and landing; and slow, low-flying aircraft are most at risk. Opportunities, as a result, are many.”
Weight is a crucial aspect that affects the efficiency of an aircraft.MKU's 6th generation ballistic armoring technology, PolyshieldV6for heavy and lethal rifle threats, uses composite materials and techniques that decrease weight by almost 40 percent and are 30 percent thinner, compared with conventional materials. This reduces the weight of the armor from the original 22 kg per sq m to 14.5 kg per sq m. The customized armor kits, trademarked “Modular Schutz Technik” (MoST), can be fitted in to the existing structure of a helicopter without physically altering the aerodynamics.
The armor kit can be easily removed and quickly re-installed on another combat-ready helicopter. The patented MoST attachment systems enable the design platform to suit a wide range of helicopters while allowing easy maintenance. The modular panel installation requires minimal training, said Khandelwal.
Being battle-proven and having worked for EuropeanOEMs such as Airbus Helicopters, German army aviation and many more, being an Indian company is no longer a challenge in getting business, Khandelwal said.
MKUhas a 50-50 joint venture with Germany’sEISElectronics manufacturing harnesses for the aerospace industry forDIEHL,DASELL, Eurocopter and Astrium (for the Galileo navigation system).MKUpresently has orders for AirbusA380,A350andA320harnesses being manufactured at its facility in Kanpur, India.