Source: Internal
  Dated: Monday, February 4, 2013 @ 08:49 AM
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Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia

Ahead of Aero India 2013, Sikorsky’s Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia in an interview with Defenseworld.net says that the company hss a roadmap to manufacture critical, high precision components that would be used for aviation industry in India. 

DW: Sikorsky and Tata recently applied for a defence license. What can you tell us about the joint venture?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky & Tata JV, “Tara” has applied for a defence license. The JV manufactures over 4,000 components which can be used for both fixed-winged & rotary-winged aircraft.  Tara started production within 2 years of signing the agreement. The FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) has in Nov 2012 given clearance for Tara to undertake additional activities related to design, development, engineering, manufacturing, and testing of fixed- and rotary-wing military aircraft. Now that we have the Defence license, we will enhance the scope of work of the JV and move ahead with manufacturing more content for the aerospace industry, but in a phased and timed manner.

DW: How do you react to NHI Industries filing a complaint against Sikorsky competing in the Indian Navy multi-role helicopter contract?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky firmly believes in the Indian Defence procurement process, its transparency and fairness. Sikorsky as a policy does not comment on competitor related issues. 

DW: How does Sikorsky plan to tackle future tenders since losing the VVIP helicopter contract?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: As answered previously, Sikorsky firmly believes in the Indian Government’s procurement process, its transparency and fairness. Sikorsky has been responding to, and will continue to respond to, the RFIs & RFPs being issued by the Government of India. Sikorsky has a wide range of proven products to meet the requirements of India’s civil & military aviation.

DW: Are there any more JVs in the pipeline? If so, can you tell us about them?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky has leveraged technical skills in India to make aerospace cabins and components, which are high precision machine-parts. Sikorsky is committed to leveraging technical skills in India for design & engineering work as well. Government of India’s Defence Procurement & Production policy lays emphasis on self-reliance and on the role of private sector in development of aerospace industry in India. This policy itself is laying the foundation stone for development of aerospace industry in India.  Sikorsky has prepared a roadmap to make India a manufacturing hub for critical, high precision components that would be used for aviation industry. Subject to meeting stipulated objectives & goals, more JVs will be forged as Sikorsky moves ahead on its roadmap. Sikorsky partnerships in India have already made it a “glocal” company, globally spread local company.

DW: What can you tell us about the R&D hub you set up recently?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Currently Sikorsky has two facilities in Hyderabad, both in partnership with Tata group. Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) is manufacturing S-92 helicopter cabins and the other is TARA, a JV which is manufacturing over 4,000 components which can be used for both fixed-winged & rotary-winged aircraft. Sikorsky sees opportunities not just for manufacturing, but for R&D as well. As we move ahead on the defined roadmap for India we will also look at some level of R & D activities happening in India in near future.

DW: There have been huge delays in some tenders issued by MOD. In view of that do you plan on bidding on any other tenders?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: As answered previously, Sikorsky has been responding to, and will continue to respond to, the RFIs & RFPs being issued by the Government and has a wide range of pioneering and proven aircrafts that cater to the needs of India’s civil aviation & defence preparedness. However, the process of procurement should be made accountable to the timeline set out by the Defence Procurement Policy. It is seen more often than not, that there are huge delays in the process. These delays are counterproductive to both OEMs and the Government. 

DW: Can you tell us about your plans to manufacture helicopters in India for the overseas market?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky has prepared a roadmap to make India a manufacturing hub for critical, high precision components that would be used for aviation industry. We have successfully crossed the first two major milestones of the roadmap and if things move at the current pace and subject to economic conditions improving worldwide, Sikorsky would be able to produce a helicopter here in India in the near future.

DW: How has the recent S-92 helicopter tour of India helped winning contracts in the country?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky’s Legacy of Heroes tour of S-92 was in India as part of the worldwide tour, to spread awareness about helicopters and their benefits. During the tour Sikorsky felicitated those veterans who fly helicopters and brave children who have saved lives. Sikorsky also gave an opportunity to the underprivileged children to fly in the helicopter. Sikorsky is committed to building awareness about the helicopter and the role it plays in supporting infrastructure development, SAR operations, Offshore Oil exploration ops and transportation of VIPs including Heads of State, connecting remote locations, emergency medical evacuation, and the like. The Legacy of Heroes India tour did not have the objective of winning any contracts.

DW: Sikorsky is said to be amongst the safest helicopters in the world and being the supplier of the U.S Air Force One helicopter. Despite it has lost out on the Indian VVIP helicopter tender. Any reason why this could have happened?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Sikorsky makes the safest helicopters in the world. For example, DGCA in India has made Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, EGPWS mandatory for all new helicopters, from 2014. EGPWS alerts the pilot on proximity to ground or an obstacle in poor visibility situations. Sikorsky S-76, which has been delivered to customers in India, already comes equipped with EGPWS. As answered previously, Sikorsky firmly believes in the Indian Government’s procurement process, its transparency and fairness.  We look forward to the emerging requirements being shaped by the MOD and Government and would accordingly participate.

DW: What do you have in store for Aero India 2013? Would you like to talk about any of the displays, static or flying?

Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, Regional Executive – India & South Asia, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: The Aero Show is always an excellent platform for companies to come together and showcase their products and technologies. This will also give the Indian defence a good opportunity to explore options for its modernization which is an important decision for the economy. At Aero India 2013, our focus is on highlighting the pioneering and proven Sikorsky products and services, the partnerships that Sikorsky builds around the world and the best practices in technology and manufacturing processes introduced in India. 

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