"Work started a long time ago. This will be similar to ANTRIX, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)," the source said.
BrahMos Aerospace is an Indo-Russian joint venture company in which DRDO has 50.5% stake and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia has 49.5%. The company is currently responsible for designing, developing, producing and marketing BrahMos supersonic missiles.
DRDO is not satisfied with efforts of the government-owned defense companies in promoting DRDO's developed systems as most of these companies have sufficient domestic orders and are not committed towards exports.
DRDO wants to stay focused on its primary objective i.e. research and development, especially in areas where imports entail prohibitive costs or where India does not yet possess technologies critical for meeting the requirement of armed forces, but it wants a dedicated wing that can handle commercial deals to give a fillip to defense exports from India.
DRDO-developed systems won the world's attention during Aero India, Bahrain International Air Show and Africa Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in South Africa. Following this, DRDO found the need to have a commercial wing due to incremental demand of its developed systems globally.
"Twenty countries have shown interest in procuring the DRDO systems like — Akash surface to air missile, BrahMos, Sonar, Underwater Acoustic Communication System, Torpedoes, Fuel Air Explosive Bomb, Thermobaric & Main Battle Tank Ammunition, Titanium Sponge, AEW&C System, and BFS Radar," said Dr S Christopher, DRDO chairman.
India has set a target of $2 billion defense exports, a six-fold increase from current exports, by 2019. In order to give impetus to exports, the Narendra Modi government has allowed government-owned defense companies to earmark 10 per cent of their production for exports. "The biggest challenge in boosting defense exports from India is the limited range of exportable products, limited overseas markets and predominance of defense manufacturers who have been in the business far longer than India," Cowshish added.