We are looking at joint venture, provided it is not 26 per cent FDI: Eurocopter
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“In the helicopter segment, everything here is obsolete except the Dhruv.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.