Barracuda - A History Of Make In India

Modern warfare continually evolves. On today’s high-tech battlefield, sensors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it ever more challenging for military forces to avoid detection and identification.

At Aero India 2017 Saab is showcasing some of the latest advanced camouflage systems available on the market. The knowledge and experience within the Business Unit Barracuda makes Saab today a world leading supplier of camouflage solutions.

Long history of being in India 

Since 1957, Saab Barracuda has been at the forefront of designing and manufacturing innovative advanced camouflage systems for military applications.  This has provided us with invaluable industry insight that has enabled us to create an extensive portfolio of battle-proven products.

Currently our products are in service in more than 60 countries. Saab Barracuda has had a significant presence in India over the years and has, through its Indian subsidiary Barracuda Camouflage (P) Limited (BCL), located in Gurgaon, equipped different strategy defence programs with Saab Barracuda MSCN & Mobile Camouflage Systems (MCS) for many years. The solutions provided by Barracuda suits the Indian Armed Forces very well according to Naresh Ummat, Managing Director, Barracuda Camouflage (P) Limited (BCL).

“Saab Barracuda has a bank of over 3000 color combinations based on its experience in various countries and in India, we have been at work since 1999. Interaction with troops and officers during discussions and field demonstrations, etc. has helped in mapping different Indian terrains. Our engineers have undertaken laboratory blending and researched the results on-ground”.

Under cover, in control

Through signature management and advanced camouflage, forces can remain undetected for longer, enabling them to prevent or delay engagement with the enemy and significantly improve their survivability and operational capability. At Saab Barracuda, our thinking edge combines market-leading signature management expertise, extensive industry experience, and a flexible approach to product development to create Advanced Camouflage Systems that put you in control.

Every terrain and battlefield scenario requires a different type of camouflage system. Saab Barracuda works closely with customers to understand individual requirements, performing on-site colour tests to produce unique, tailored solutions. From desert and stone, to tropical forests and snow-covered mountains, we have the capability to create products for any environment. Naresh Ummat further explains how the processes undertaken to produce camouflage systems for the Indian Armed Forces looks like.

“Foremost, our scientists/engineers engage customer and understand specifics of end user needs. Often, such discussions lead to a better appreciation of customer requirements. Barracuda then engages in setting up a trial run before regular production is taken up. This small but significant pre-production run helps to make samples which are subjected to a defined test schedule. Subsequently, production is taken up. Our manufacturing facility here in India is the most modern and automated facility out there and we have sensors and other check stations along the whole coating/printing mill. Every stage of manufacturing has a quality assurance and inspection data sheet. The final product undergoes yet another detailed check.”

The stand out choice for blending in

Saab Barracuda are experts in signature management and the in-house capabilities, technical knowledge and dedication to R&D means that we are always at the forefront of technology.

The sophisticated sensors used in modern warfare pose a great threat to forces. Technology is developing at such a rate that we must continuously be aware of the latest sensor capabilities. Saab Barracuda’s Advanced Camouflage Systems provide multispectral protection by reducing an object’s signature across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

“In order to protect soldiers from these threats, our products consist of multiple layers of material. Each layer is coated with paints and glosses with different signature management properties, providing protection from a range of sensor threats. For example, our force integrated systems comprise many products that together provide the capability to move and hide as and when you need to. The ULCAS net is lightweight, easy-to-use and it can be erected quickly to cover a vehicle or to create a base camp or operation post for soldiers to work in. These kind of nets can be designed according to specific signature management requirements depending on the terrain, and our 3D and reversible variations ensure coverage even in rapidly changing environments”, says Naresh.

Go the full distance

Indian army recognises Barracuda characteristics for effective camouflage in battlefield deployment. Induction program for MSCN into the Indian Army has taken off, and this may run for five to six years to replace old jute nets & thereby provide much needed camouflage protection to various high value assets. Barracuda sees a large potential for MCS & synthetic nets not only with Indian Army but with Indian Air Force also. New programs for air defence have shown preference for Barracuda range of products.

“Holding hands with local industrial partners from design stage till delivery of future programs has long term business benefits for Barracuda alike. Barracuda is implementing long term plans to meet `Make in India’ objectives. Investments are lined up & projections for volumes indicated, justifies Barracuda’s thrust to be a supply hub for Indian Armed Forces with a local manufacturing facility at par with best in the world”, says Naresh Ummat.