Finmeccanica Spread Wide on Indian Shores
Italian group on verge of being blacklisted; defence ministry accelerates the process to take action
New Delhi: Finmeccanica, the Italian defence group on the verge of getting blacklisted, is spread wide in India, with several military systems in service as well as contracts in the pipeline that have now been struck for years.
The defence ministry has accelerated the process to take action against the group, following the recent conviction of its former executives in Italy over corruption in a helicopter deal with India. But, the government has clarified that the group’s ongoing projects will not be affected by the step.
The Finmeccanica group has supplied systems ranging from radars and guns for the Navy to being one of the prime contenders for a $1-billion contract for a new range of naval choppers. In current form, the blacklisting of Finmeccanicacould affect work of subsidiaries Selex, Alenia and OtoMelara.
Selex, for example, is supplying the 3D L Band Air Surveillance Radar (RAN-40L) which will be installed on-board the Vikrant aircraft carrier being built in Kochi. OtoMelara is the main supplier of naval guns for warships of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. It had a tie up with government owned Bharat Heavy Electricals for producing 76mm and Finmeccanica would affect work of its subsidiary companies
supplying 3D L Band Air Surveillance Radar that will be installed on-board Vikrant aircraft carrier
is the main supplier of naval guns for warships of Navy and coast guard
a leading competitor for a deal to replace IAF’s Avro fleet, is out of race
Group has supplied systems ranging from radars and guns for Navy to being one of prime contenders for a new range of naval choppers
127mm naval guns.
Alenia, which was at one point was a leading competitor for a deal to replace the IAF’s Avro fleet, has fallen out of the race. The navy’s new Scorpenesubmarinesmayhavetodo wi t h o u t a n e w torpedo as FinmeccanicasubsidiaryWASSwas selected for the contract but the deal has not moved much. Selex supplies communication and radars to Hindustan Aeronautics that are put on board naval and air force choppers. AgustaWestland, the British unit of the company that is in the centre of the corruption scandal, itself was hopeful of a comeback into the Indian market for the navy tender for utility helicopters. It was even in talks with several Indian companies for a possible tie up.
The defence ministry has made its position clear that it will go hard on the AgustaWestland case. In a first official comment, the ministry said “publicly available information” on the case “clearly shows that the core issue in the matter is corruption”.