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, MKU said, 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 Stand C8) 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, MKU international sales director, to AIN. 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, Polyshield V6 for 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 European OEMs such as Airbus Helicopters, German army aviation and many more, being an Indian company is no longer a challenge in getting business, Khandelwal said.
MKU has a 50-50 joint venture with Germany’s EIS Electronics manufacturing harnesses for the aerospace industry for DIEHL, DASELL, Eurocopter and Astrium (for the Galileo navigation system). MKU presently has orders for Airbus A380, A350 and A320 harnesses being manufactured at its facility in Kanpur, India.