According to Business Standard, The Boeing Company and India’s MoD owned Bharat Electronics Limited are expanding their partnership through a follow-on contract involving the manufacture of subassemblies for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jet. This contract, for Super Hornet subassemblies, expands work that Boeing awarded BEL in 2011.
Dennis Swanson, VP of International Business Development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security in India was quoted saying, “Boeing’s relationship with BEL demonstrates our commitment to work with the Indian industry to foster global growth and market access.”
Regarding BEL, the company is engaged in the design, development and manufacture of a wide range of command, control, communications, computing and Intelligence solutions. According to H.N. Ramakrishna, BEL’s director of marketing, “BEL believes this cooperation with Boeing is a great opportunity and is ever willing to take it to greater heights”.
April 17, 2013 No Comments
On New Year’s Day in 2009, the Indian Navy announced the $2.1 billion purchase of eight Boeing P-8i Poseidon aircraft. The first of these modified 737s have already been delivered as of last month.
According to a report in the Business Standard newspaper, The P8-Is will operate from INS Rajali, a naval base at Arakonam, near Chennai, flying eight-hour missions over the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the northern Indian Ocean. These could involve seeking out pirates, suspicious cargo vessels, or hostile warships and submarines. During such missions, the P-8I’s enhanced internal fuel tanks will allow it to fly 1,100 kilometres to a patrol area, remain for up to six hours, and then fly back. Using aerial refuelling, this endurance can be doubled. On patrol, naval operators scour the area from banks of consoles inside the aircraft. A multi-mode radar in the P-8I’s nose cone looks forward and sideways, picking up aircraft, surface ships and submarines.
Meanwhile, a belly-mounted radar looks backwards, like an electronic rear-view-mirror. Suspicious objects can be investigated further: a suspected enemy submarine is pinpointed by dropping sonobuoys, floating sonar detectors that radio back telltale audio signals. A magnetic anomaly detector on the P-8I’s tail distinguishes between an enemy submarine and, say, a blue whale.
These sensors are backed up with armament. The P-8I has the enhanced wings of a Boeing 737-900 onto which weaponry can be mounted. This includes potent anti-ship Harpoon missiles, and the Mark 82 depth charge that the US Navy uses. Another compartment in the aircraft’s belly will house five Mark 54 torpedoes, the primary submarine-killing armament. These must be warm when they are launched, and so cannot be exposed to the icy temperatures of wing mounting.
Robert Schoeffling, the P-8 program’s Business Development head, anticipates Indian orders for 25 to 35 P8-Is. “With 7500 kilometers of coastline, 60 per cent of the world’s shipping traffic passing close by, tremendous need for maritime domain awareness, including anti-submarine, and with three aircraft carriers in the 2020s, the Indian Navy is going to have a tremendous need for such aircraft,” he says.
August 18, 2012 No Comments
The last page of the defense/aerospace industry leading magazine, typically carries a Viewpoint article. In the latest issue, the following article by me is published.
by Gunjan Bagla, Managing Director, Amritt, Inc.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the management of Dassault are elated, as Rafale is the apparent winner of the $10.4 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft order for India’s air force. France also has an order backlog with India that includes the Scorpene submarine and $2.4 billion in retrofits to the Mirage 2000 fleet.
Where does that leave U.S. defense companies as India, already the world’s largest importer of weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, prepares to spend another $50-100 billion in upgrading its military and homeland security infrastructure? Fifteen of the top 20 defense companies are American, and the U.S. is responsible for half of the world’s $1.4 trillion defense expenditure. But aside from Lockheed Martin with the C-130J and Boeing with the P-8I, C-17 and AH-64 helicopter, no U.S. company has come close to a billion-dollar defense order from India.
At some companies, management is hearing what a U.S. aerospace executive once told me in New Delhi,: “India is an acronym for I’ll Never Do It Again.”
This attitude is unproductive and unjustified; it also denies American companies the opportunity to win their share of India’s ambitious upgrade plan. With a few simple adjustments, a dozen U.S. prime contractors could sustain thousands of American jobs and deliver security to the world’s largest democracy.
Some perspective is in order. India is unlikely to terminate its long-standing relationships with Russian suppliers. It will receive additional Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters and continue joint ventures to develop a fifth-generation fighter as well as its Brahmos cruise missile. Israeli companies will continue to win business in India. U.S. suppliers must compete head-to-head with these internationals to gain a share of this large market.
There is considerable ground for optimism, however. Only 10% of Indians have an unfavorable view of the U.S., according the Pew Center. This compares with 77% of Turks, 41% of Mexicans and 28% of Israelis. Most Indians in influential positions have a family member living in the U.S., including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Pallam Raju, junior minister in-charge of defense production, graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, and India’s powerful home and foreign ministers are U.S.-educated.
While there are technology-transfer restrictions imposed by Washington on U.S. companies, the situation has improved. In November 2010, the Obama administration removed several limitations that prevented certain Indian entities from buying U.S. products.
Freed from these restraints, what can American executives do to transform India’s goodwill into business?
•First, they must take time to understand and respect India’s Defense Procurement Procedure. While the DPP is complex, it is being implemented with increasing rigor and consistency. The Rafale win is a testament to this; the DPP 2008 stood robustly resistant to domestic and international political pressures. This is a stark contrast to a scandalous past, such as New Delhi’s infamous Bofors howitzer procurement.
American executives should not assume that Pentagon practices or State Department pressure will curry much favor in New Delhi. In fact, using some Beltway lobbyists can be counterproductive. Although they understand American procurement, they do not appreciate the cultural, political and socioeconomic nuances in India. India is an open and transparent, albeit confusing, society. U.S. suppliers can improve their odds dramatically if they invest deeply in understanding India.
•Second, many Indians react negatively to what they perceive as “American arrogance” when an executive harps on the technical and functional superiority of U.S. equipment. Even the most westernized Indians say they often feel jarred, even belittled. Understated confidence backed with a broad cultural understanding of India’s geopolitical and historical situation is crucial to American success in defense and homeland security.
•Third, some western corporate and political leaders express a sense of entitlement in India, which can be the kiss of death. The most recent example is David Davis, the British member of Parliament who insinuated that India should have ordered the Eurofighter instead of the Rafale because, “We give many, many times more aid to India than France ever did.” The Eurofighter lost narrowly since its lifetime cost of ownership will be higher than the Rafale’s. Sulking only aggravates the customer.
•Finally, there is no substitute for patience and persistence in India. If you send an executive for a one-year assignment to India, he or she may not only come back empty-handed but will often make it harder for the next person to interest a serious audience.
February 19, 2012 No Comments
The U.S. Congress was officially notified of the potential sale of Mk-54 Lightweight Torpedoes to the Indian Navy. The Mk-54 is the most advanced lightweight torpedo in the U.S. Navy inventory and is intended to be deployed with the Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, eight of which are currently being built for India. The P-8I, equipped with Mk-54 torpedoes, will provide long-range anti-submarine warfare capabilities for the Indian Navy.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Government of India has requested a possible sale of of All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes, 3 recoverable exercise torpedoes, 1 training shape, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, transportation, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $86 million.
The Mk-54 torpedo is currently in service with the Royal Australian Navy. Taiwan is also reportedly considering a purchase.
July 24, 2011 No Comments
By 2014, India’s ministry of defense will be the largest owner and operator of the Boeing C-17 transport aircraft outside the United States. A formal $4.1 billion order for ten of the aircraft is expected to keep the production lines in Long Beach (just six miles from where I am sitting) humming for another two years. India is likely to opt for an additional six C-17s after the contract for 10 is signed as the Indian Air Force is keen on increasing its heavy-lift capability according to a report in Aviation Week. The transaction will be listed as a “foreign military sale (FMS) with the US government buying the planes and selling them to the Indian government (as distinct from a “DCS” or direct commercial sale where Boeing would sell directly to India).
The C-17′s ability to fly long distances and land in remote airfields in rough, land-locked regions make it a premier transporter for India. According to Boeing, the plane can take off from a 7,600-ft. airfield, carry a payload of 160,000 pounds, fly 2,400 nautical miles, refuel while in flight and land in 3,000 ft. or less on a small unpaved airfield in day or night.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the company received formal approval Monday from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet committee on security. The deal would be India’s largest defense contract with a U.S. company. The second largest US defense deal with India was also won by Boeing (for the P8i Orion aircraft).
What this means:
First of all it is a major win for Boeing in India, which is by the far the largest American supplier to India having won in both military and commercial billion dollar bids. Second it is a re-affirmation of India’s interest in aligning more closely with the United States; the vast majority of its defense hardware is still of Soviet/Russian origin. Third, the deal creates or sustains over 20,000 American jobs according the US India Business council.
June 8, 2011 No Comments