Air­bus plans global hub in In­dia for Pan­ther copters

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Europe's Air­bus Group which is com­pet­ing for air­craft or­ders from In­dia's navy and air force Mon­day said it will build lo­cal as­sem­bly lines if th­ese projects come through.

The fi­nal as­sem­bly lines to make Pan­ther he­li­copters for the Navy and C295 trans­port air­craft for the In­dian Air Force will be built at a cost of over Rs.5,000 crore and will cre­ate over 10,000 high skilled jobs, the aero­space and de­fence firm said in New Delhi.

"We are propos­ing to es­tab­lish a fi­nal as­sem­bly line in In­dia for the AS565 MBe Pan­ther he­li­copters, if we get the Naval Util­ity He­li­copters con­tract," said Pierre de Baus­set, pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Air­bus Group In­dia. "We will have In­dia as the global hub for Pan­thers," he added. He said along with the fi­nal as­sem­bly line, Air­bus will set up tier I, II and III sup­ply chain in­fra­struc­ture in In­dia for th­ese he­li­copters.

Air­bus He­li­copters is in the process to form a joint ven­ture com­pany with Mahin­dra De­fence Sys­tems Ltd. This com­pany hopes to be­come the pri­vate strate­gic part­ner on he­li­copter plat­forms. On 24 Jan­uary, the de­fence pro­duc­tion arm of the Mahin­dra Group, Mahin­dra De­fence and Air­bus He­li­copters had signed a so-called state­ment of in­tent to pro­duce mil­i­tary he­li­copters in In­dia. The com­pa­nies plan to set up a fi­nal as­sem­bly line in In­dia, de­velop tier-1 and tier-2 sup­pli­ers and make ex­ten­sive trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy, to achieve 50% in­dige­nous con­tent.

In July, Mahin­dra De­fence and Air­bus He­li­copters had signed an in­prin­ci­ple agree­ment to set up a joint ven­ture to man­u­fac­ture he­li­copters in In­dia, seek­ing to tap a mil­i­tary hard­ware mar­ket es­ti­mated to grow to $41 bil­lion in seven years.

Apart from the Naval Util­ity He­li­copters, the joint com­pany will also tar­get the Re­con­nais­sance & Sur­veil­lance He­li­copters (RSH) re­quire­ment of over 200 units with the H125M Fen­nec and the Naval Mul­ti­Role He­li­copters ( NMRH) re­quire­ment of more than 120 units with the H225M (pre­vi­ously mar­keted as EC725). The com­pany also plans to es­tab­lish a fi­nal as­sem­bly line in In­dia for the C295 mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft in part­ner­ship with Tata Group com­pa­nies. The C295 is be­ing pro­posed as a re­place­ment for the In­dian Air Force's age­ing Avro fleet.

The com­pany said the se­lec­tion process is on track and field eval­u­a­tion tri­als are ex­pected in the near fu­ture. The Make In In­dia ini­tia­tive launched by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on 25 Septem­ber 2014 aims to boost do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing and cre­ate jobs. Twenty-five sec­tors were iden­ti­fied for Make In In­dia, from au­to­mo­biles to avi­a­tion to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to tourism and well­ness. Stress­ing that the Group is al­ready mak­ing in In­dia through its over 45 sup­pli­ers, de Baus­set said, "What we buy in In­dia, we make in In­dia." Re­fer­ring to the In­dian govern­ment rules re­strict­ing for­eign own­er­ship in the In­dian de­fence sec­tor to 49%, de Baus­set said: "The is­sue is not the limit per se. The busi­ness case for high-tech trans­fer to In­dia be­comes more com­pelling if for­eign OEMs (orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers) are al­lowed to have ad­e­quate equity and man­age­ment con­trol in the joint ven­ture in line with the risks they are tak­ing and the con­tri­bu­tions they are pro­vid­ing." -

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