Partnerships between Indian and foreign arms manufacturers have shown a distinct upward trend in the past few months.
Perhaps enthused by the hike in foreign investment limit from 26% to 49% and the Modi government’s thrust to domestic manufacture of defence equipment, an increasing number of international firms are scouting for local partners.
In October, Zen Technologies announced it was partnering with Rockwell Collins to combine their strengths in simulation and training to provide solutions to Indian military customers.
“Our relationship with Zen Technologies allows Rockwell Collins to offer superior end-to-end solutions that militaries utilize throughout the world,” said Le Ann Ridgeway, vice president and general manager, Simulation & Training Solutions for Rockwell Collins.
Just before that, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Thales announced that the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs approved the incorporation of their joint venture company, BEL-THALES Systems Limited, in late August this year.
This joint venture (JV) Company will primarily focus on the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars for India and the global markets. The first board meeting of BEL-THALES Systems Limited took place to announce that BEL holds a 74 % stake while Thales holds 26% of the equity in the JV Company.
Mumbai-based Pipavav Defence & Offshoring Engineering Company (PDOC) and Germany’s ATLAS ELEKTRONIK announced in February that they are teaming up to build new Heavyweight Torpedo for the Indian Navy.
PDOC and ATLAS will create a Joint Venture (JV) company in which ATLAS undertakes Transfer of Technology while PDOC will handle domestic manufacturing and business development. PDOC has begun the process of identifying domestic medium and small-scale enterprises to leverage India’s existing base of expertise, a joint statement said.
The JV partners also envision creating a Center of Excellence for Torpedo Technology with the DRDO and leading Defence PSUs such as BEL and BDL. Thus, this cooperation will go beyond licensed production and promote domestic absorption of advanced technology to pave the way for a truly indigenous Indian torpedo.
In September, India's Bharat Forge and Israel's Elbit Systems announced a joint venture - BF Elbit Advanced Systems Ltd– to focus on the Army’s artillery requirements before expanding into more advanced equipment for all three services. The JVC will develop products like the Advanced Indian Gun System.
Meanwhile, Airbus Defense is pursuing a JV with the Tatas to manufacture transport planes for the defence sector. According to reports, the Airbus-Tata partnership could be one of many to bid of the IAF’s Avro aircraft replacement tender.
However, Indian Industry is wary of the face of partnerships if the foreign company gets blacklisted on bribery charges. DA Mohan, former Director BEL and CEO, DAC international, raised concerns about the domestic companies that partner international defense companies which get blacklisted during a discussion at the Deftronics 2014 exhibition in Bangalore, India.
He said, “What is the condition of the private Indian defense firm when its international partner company gets blacklisted for various reasons? The domestic companies have to bear the loss of losing out of the project when their international partner defense companies are blacklisted for various reasons. Besides that, the private companies with no fault of theirs are not compensated for their losses.”
The FICV project was approved nearly five years ago. Since then, India’s Mahindra Defence Systems has tied up with BAE Systems, Larsen & Toubro is working on overseas tie ups, and Tata Motors is also working to connect with overseas companies after its tie up with Rheinmetall was stalled following the blacklisting of the German company.
Meanwhile, Moscow has suggested that New Delhi consider its offer of setting up a joint venture to assemble Russia’s Kamov helicopters in India, Russia’s deputy prime minister said last November.
“We have a serious proposal for India which refers not only to purchases of Russian helicopters. Russia as India’s strategic partner proposes setting up a joint venture, including on India’s territory,” Dmitry Rogozin said.
During a visit to India in December 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin to India, Russian Helicopters and Elcom Systems Private Limited, part of the Indian investment conglomerate SUN Group, signed an agreement to set up a modern industrial facility for manufacturing of Russian helicopter models, namely helicopters of the Ka- and Mi- brands in India.
According to reports, the joint venture will have the capacity to produce key helicopter units and carry out final assembly of the machines as well as engage in ground and flight testing. It is expected that the enterprise will start with production of components for the multirole Ka-226T helicopter. The enterprise will serve as an industrial base for hi-tech Russian rotorcraft products in India.
However, the status of this project remains unclear.
India Today decided to buy an Israeli anti-tank missile, ‘Spike for INR 3200 crore (US$520 million approx) while rejecting the offer of the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin ‘Javelin missile. The defence acquisition council (DAC) of the Indian MOD approved the purchase of the Israeli missile made by Rafael which has offered to co-produce the missile in India along with transfer of technology
Indias defence acquisition council (DAC) has approved the procurement of six submarines from local shipyards worth INR 5000 crore (US$8.3 billion)
India has decided to ground its fleet of over 200 Su-30 aircraft, following a crash in Pune last week, until an investigation into the problem of automatically ejecting pilot seats has been concluded. In 2013, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) wrote to IRKUT Corp and Rosoboronexport about having problems with the aircraft's ejection seats on multiple occasions
Russia is likely to win a $197 million T-90 ammunition contract from India, according to Defense News. In 2012, India took of 16,000 rounds of the same ammunition from Russia for its T-90 tanks
Russia is ready to provide three additional Talwar class frigates to India after the latter sent a request, Tass reported today. Russia has supplied India with two sets of three Project 11356 Talwar frigates, with the last one being the INS Trikand
Safran and Bharat Forge announced a long-term partnership to supply critical high integrity forged and machined components for Indian commercial aircraft applications to Safrans global affiliates last week. Over the past 18 months, Safran and Bharat Forge have worked on a demonstrator phase for initial trial production of critical forgings in a variety of materials; including titanium, nickel based and steel alloys, for aerospace
A day after the Indian Ministry of Defense cleared proposals worth $13 billion, shares of local arms manufacturers rose as much as 8.6 per cent Monday
The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) Saturday approved the purchase of 362 BMP-2 “Sarath” infantry combat vehicles worth $293 million. The Indian Army has more than 1500 BMP-2 vehicles currently operational in various roles, such as armored ambulance, armored vehicle tracked light repair, armored amphibious dozer (AAD), armoured engineer reconnaissance vehicle (AERV), NBC reconnaissance vehicle (NBCRV), carrier mortar tracked, and unmanned reconnaissance vehicle
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