Power of I 2016

Tonbo Imaging - A Strong Defence

Why top defence agencies across the world have their eyes set on Bengaluru-based Tonbo Imaging

RA Chandroo

After working for five years in the US after completing his education, Arvind Lakshmikumar and his wife decided it was time to come home; and so, in 2004, they did. After a short stint at Honeywell, Lakshmikumar was back then heading technology and operations at the Indian arm of the US-based Sarnoff Corporation, which specialised in vision, video and semiconductor technology innovations. In his stint in the US, he was the director for a number of international military programmes (DARPA, US Army, NSF and DRDO) and lead subcontractor on multiple next-generation military programmes. Lakshmikumar built various imaging systems for Boeing and Lockheed Martin and was part of programmes such as Future Combat Systems, which made the US Army combat-ready for modern warfare. “When we came back to India, we looked at all the companies in the defence sector. They were mostly using screwdriver technology,” explains Lakshmikumar, CEO, Tonbo Imaging. In other words, they were buying products from Europe and the US or Israel and putting them together as there was no ecosystem to build products from the ground up. “There is no harm in buying from companies overseas as long as you have access to the best technology and control over the same. But unfortunately, when you buy this way, you don’t have access to the best technology and every time you face a problem, you have to go back to the seller and are subject to their whims,” adds Lakshmikumar.