We are look­ing at joint ven­ture, pro­vided it is not 26 per cent FDI: Euro­copter

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - — R. Chandrakanth

Though some of the orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEMs) are get­ting im­pa­tient with the pro­tracted de­ci­sion-mak­ing process with re­gard to de­fence equip­ment, they are hang­ing on as In­dia con­tin­ues to be a key and strate­gic mar­ket. Euro­copter is one such com­pany.

Speak­ing to SP’s M.A.I. on the side­lines of NAMEXPO 2013 in Kochi re­cently, Euro­copter Vice Pres­i­dent (Sales and Cus­tomers Re­la­tion) In­dia and South Asia, Rainer Farid said: “There are many pro­grammes in In­dia, but most of them are de­layed due to scan­dals, im­pend­ing elec­tions...and it is re­ally be dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ment now.” The In­dian Army has short­listed com­pa­nies for its re­quire­ment of 197 he­li­copters but there have been de­lays.

Giv­ing ex­am­ples of sig­nif­i­cant strides made in co­op­er­a­tion with coun­tries such as South Korea (for code­vel­op­ment of 7-tonne he­li­copter), Aus­tralia (joint ven­ture for NH90), US (for Lakhota medium he­li­copters) and Brazil (for EC735), Farid said, “We are pa­tient here. We want to go into co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia too.”

“In the he­li­copter seg­ment, ev­ery­thing here is ob­so­lete ex­cept the Dhruv. The Seakings are over 30 years old and it is time for re­place­ment. In­dia has come up with ‘buy and make’ pro­gramme and this is a good route.” Euro­copter, he said, is keen on trans­fer­ring tech­nol­ogy, build­ing a global sup­ply chain in In­dia etc. “We are look­ing at joint ven­ture, pro­vided it is not 26 per cent FDI. It is our tech­nol­ogy and we will be re­spon­si­ble for the end prod­uct.”

Euro­copter is of­fer­ing In­dia the AS565 MB Pan­ther and the prod­uct is in the tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion stage and tri­als are ex­pected early next year. “We are very con­fi­dent.” In its naval ver­sion, the all-weather, mul­ti­role light he­li­copter can be op­er­ated from ship decks, off­shore plat­forms and land bases with demon­strated ca­pa­bil­i­ties to cover the full range of In­dian Navy and Coast Guard mis­sion re­quire­ments – in­clud­ing mar­itime sur­veil­lance, search and res­cue, off­shore pa­trolling and counter-ter­ror­ism, ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tion and ver­ti­cal re­plen­ish­ment.

AS565 MB

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