In con­ver­sa­tion with Em­manuel de Ro­que­feuil, VP & Coun­try Di­rec­tor, Thales in In­dia

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

With new ini­tia­tives and pol­icy de­ci­sions on sev­eral fronts, the In­dian de­fence sec­tor is mov­ing to­wards an era of self-reliance. Many of the projects un­der the am­bi­tious ‘Make in In­dia’ flag­ship pro­gramme of the gov­ern­ment has helped in trans­lat­ing the “good be­gin­nings” as con­crete re­al­i­ties on the ground.

Be­ing the third-largest armed forces in the world, strength­en­ing and modernising the de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties is ar­guably one of the key pri­or­i­ties for In­dia. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s ini­tia­tives to push In­dian de­fence sec­tor as one of the fastest de­vel­op­ing in­dus­try on the global plat­form has caught at­ten­tion of pol­icy mak­ers all across the world. It has not only helped in de­vel­op­ing a ca­ma­raderie with na­tions who have spe­cial strengths in de­fence but has also ce­mented In­dia as an im­por­tant strate­gic and de­fence part­ner with them. Ever since Thales be­gan op­er­a­tions in In­dia in 1953, the com­pany has ac­tively con­trib­uted to the mod­erni­sa­tion of the de­fence, aerospace and ground trans­porta­tion mar­kets in the coun­try. Over 600 em­ploy­ees are work­ing with Thales and its joint ven­tures in In­dia.”

Sup­port­ing In­dian Armed Forces

From op­tron­ics to soft­ware de­fined ra­dio, from full com­mand and con­trol net­works to mis­siles and ve­hi­cles, Thales is a leader in of­fer­ing a broad pal­ette of so­lu­tions to help In­dia’s armed forces gain and main­tain op­er­a­tional su­pe­ri­or­ity. Backed by such high- tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, Thales has ce­mented its po­si­tion as a trusted part­ner to all the three branches of the In­dian Armed Forces: Navy, Air Force and Army.

One of the key milestones for Thales has been se­lec­tion of the Rafale MMRCA by the In­dian Air Force as it pro­vides a num­ber of state-of-the-art equip­ment and sys­tems aboard the om­ni­role com­bat air­craft. The In­dian Air Force has also re­lied on Thales for en­hanc­ing the tech­ni­cal- op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties of its Mi­rage 2000 fleet. In July 2011, Thales and Das­sault Avi­a­tion signed a con­tract for the up­grade of this fleet. The teams from Thales and Das­sault Avi­a­tion have been sup­port­ing Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited in up­grad­ing the Mi­rage 2000 fleet as per the con­tract.”

For the In­dian Navy, Thales of­fers a wide range of sys­tems and so­lu­tions that in­cludes- elec­tronic war­fare sys­tems, lon­grange sur­veil­lance radar, anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare sonar sys­tems and mine-hunt­ing so­lu­tions while for the In­dian Army, these in­clude op­tron­ics like Hand Held Ther­mal Im­agers (HHTI) and Cather­ine ther­mal im­agers on T90 tanks and air de­fence radars, among oth­ers.

Con­tribut­ing to ‘Make in In­dia’

En­cour­aged by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia’s poli­cies on in­di­geni­sa­tion, the In­dian de­fence sec­tor has seen an in­fu­sion of en­ergy. With im­por­tant ini­tia­tives like ‘Make in In­dia’, ‘Skill In­dia’ and ‘Dig­i­tal In­dia’, Thales be­lieves the coun­try is tak­ing the right strides to­wards emerg­ing into a very ca­pa­ble de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing hub on par with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

Thales’s strat­egy of de­vel­op­ing its in­dus­trial foot­print in In­dia is in line with the In­dian gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy of ‘Make in In­dia’. Over the last five decades, Thales has been work­ing closely with Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited in all tech­no­log­i­cal ar­eas that can be used for mil­i­tary air­crafts. The JVs with Bharat Elec­tron­ics Lim­ited and Sam­tel along with L&T Tech­nol­ogy Ser­vices in the fields of civil­ian and se­lect ground- based mil­i­tary radars, mil­i­tary avion­ics and air­borne sen­sor sys­tems, and avion­ics soft­ware re­spec­tively fur­ther re­in­force the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to­wards In­dia.”

In­no­va­tion is in Thales’s DNA. In part­ner­ship with lead­ers in academia and in­dus­try, the com­pany is seek­ing to de­liver ground break­ing re­search and trans­for­ma­tive tech­nol­ogy that drives growth in In­dia. Nearly 20% of the an­nual sales is ded­i­cated to re­search & de­vel­op­ment. On 10 March 2018, Thales and the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Madras (IIT Madras) signed an MoU to cre­ate a jointly su­per­vised PhD fel­low­ship pro­gramme in co­or­di­na­tion with Cen­tre Na­tion­nal de la Recherche Sci­en­tifique ( CNRS). It has sim­i­lar part­ner­ships with IIT Bom­bay, IIT Delhi and In­dian In­sti­tute of Sci­ence Ban­ga­lore.

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