Sub­dued Farn­bor­ough Air­show

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK -

One of the world’s big­gest aero­space events, the Farn­bor­ough In­ter­na­tional Air­show, which con­cluded re­cently was a sub­dued one. There were no or­ders rain­ing down, like what hap­pened in Paris last year, al­beit on the com­mer­cial side. The mas­sive cuts in de­fence spend­ing across Europe and else­where, ex­clud­ing the Mid­dle East and Asia, has put the de­fence in­dus­try in a tail­spin. Com­pe­ti­tion is get­ting fiercer and in the West the de­fence and aero­space in­dus­try is look­ing at ways and means of be­com­ing vi­able, through out­sourc­ing, job cuts, re­work­ing strate­gies, etc.

Though there were deals struck, there were none which caught world at­ten­tion. Most of the talk, how­ever, re­mained on how to ‘bal­ance bud­gets’ and al­most all ma­jors re­mained ‘sub­dued’, un­like Northrop Grum­man which opted out of the show for strate­gic rea­sons. De­fence con­trac­tors seemed wor­ried that de­fence spend­ing has taken a hit, led by the US which has planned $500 bil­lion in cuts and have ag­gres­sively started look­ing at emerg­ing mar­kets, China and In­dia be­ing on the top.

At Farn­bor­ough,

Price­wa­ter­houseC- oop­ers ( PwC) re­leased a re­port which re­flected how the aero­space and de­fence in­dus­try were fac­ing mount­ing pres­sures and the man­u­fac­tur­ing and R&D shifts that were tak­ing place. PwC has re­ported that be­tween 2000 and 2011, China ranked as the num­ber one coun­try re­ceiv­ing the most man­u­fac­tur­ing in­vest­ments by aero­space and de­fence com­pa­nies, fol­lowed by In­dia and the US. The United King­dom ranked seventh. As for R&D in­vest­ments dur­ing the same pe­riod, In­dia has topped the charts, fol­lowed by the US, Rus­sia and the UK. Twothirds of the R&D in­vest­ments were in coun­tries out­side of North Amer­ica, the UK and Western Europe.

In this is­sue, Rear Ad­mi­ral (Retd) Sushil Ram­say has fea­tured the In­dian Coast Guard – Avi­a­tion which is be­ing re­cast, post Mum­bai 26/11. The Coast Guard has pro­jected a force-level of 268 ves­sels, in­clud­ing 173 small pa­trol craft, 113 air­craft, 18 Nis­hant un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles and aero­stat by 2017. The wor­ri­some fac­tor is that the ac­qui­si­tion and pro­cure­ment pro­cesses have been quite tardy which could be detri­men­tal to the en­vis­aged ca­pac­ity build plan for the na­tion’s coastal se­cu­rity.

In his frank and forth­right col­umn, Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch has rub­bished Pak­istan’s claim to mend­ing fences with In­dia, say­ing it would not have sent Ji­lani to In­dia af­ter he had been un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously kicked out through fund­ing sep­a­ratists by him. The re­tired Gen­eral ex­poses Pak­istan’s dou­ble-speak.

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