Airbus to set up final assembly lines for military aircraft, helicopters in India

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS of Toulouse said it is willing to set-up final assembly lines and establish supply chain and related infrastructure for military transport aircraft and helicopters in India. The defence and space unit of Airbus has also plans to develop and manufacture electronic sensors with a partner in India, and has advanced discussions to support state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s combat aircraft programmes. In a statement, Airbus said one of its units, Airbus Helicopters is in discussion with Indian companies to finalise teaming arrangements for various helicopter programmes, including the Naval Utility Helicopter, the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter as well as the Naval Multi-Role Helicopter competitions. This was announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Airbus production facilities in Toulouse. “India already takes a centre-stage role in our international activities and we want to even increase its contribution to our products. We support Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ call and are ready to manufacture in India, for India and the world,” said Airbus Group chief executive officer Tom Enders. It was in April 1975, state-run Indian Airlines (now Air India Ltd) ordered three A300B2s, the first contract secured by Airbus in a country previously dominated by American aircraft manufacturers. Airbus had set up an Indian fully-owned subsidiary, Airbus India Operations, in December 2013. In India, Airbus Group already operates two engineering centres — one focused on civil aviation and the other on defence — and a research and technology (R&T) centre which together employ over 400 people. During the meeting with Modi, the Group’s senior representatives conveyed their decision to expand these centres so that they can take on comprehensive design responsibilities for future Airbus Group programmes. At present, Airbus commands over 70% market share in the fleet of Indian scheduled airlines. In 2014, Airbus’ procurement from India stood at over $400 million from around 40 companies (public and private) which together support more than 5,000 jobs locally. The top three procurement areas have been in engineering & IT services, aero-structures, and detailed parts & systems. “The prime minister was informed that procurement from the country is set to grow further as the Group plans to award additional manufacturing and engineering work packages to local companies, which will accelerate their integration into the Group’s global supply chain,” Airbus said in a statement. Airbus said it is willing to set-up final assembly lines and establish supply chains and related infrastructure for military transport aircraft and helicopters in the country. “These would be in full compliance of the procurement policies specified by the Indian Ministry of Defence and local Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) guidelines,” it said. Airbus’ defence and space had submitted a joint proposal with Tata Group to produce the modern C295 aircraft in India as a replacement for the ageing Avro aircraft of the Indian Air Force. On 20 February, Mint reported that Airbus Group is in advanced talks with India’s largest engineering company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) for setting up a radar manufacturing facility in India quoting Christian Scherer, executive vice-president (head of marketing and sales) and member of executive committee at Airbus Defence and Space GmbH. Airbus also works directly with Indian companies in designing and manufacturing aerostructures. These companies include Tata Group, Mahindra Group, Aequs Pvt Ltd, L&T, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, Infosys Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd, Geometric Ltd and Tech Mahindra Ltd.

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