Boeing’s sourcing from India has more than doubled since ‘Make in India’, says Dennis Swanson, Vice President, Boeing Defense, Space & Security in India. In an email interview with Economictimes.com’s Smriti Jain & Ruchi Bambha, Swanson says India is one of the most important markets for Boeing internationally and that the company supports Modi government’s drive towards improving the ease of doing business.
What is your take on the government’s special focus on ‘Make in India’ for the defence sector? Is Boeing looking to aggressively be a part of the indigenisation drive?
Boeing has played a significant role in developing India’s aerospace and defense sector for more than 20 years through integrating Indian companies in our global supply chain, so we welcome the Prime Minister’s vision. We continue to increase our presence, and our strategies are aimed at helping Indian partners build a strong manufacturing infrastructure.
Boeing has been building long-term partnerships with Indian companies that are helping create the indigenous aerospace and defense infrastructure envisioned through “Make in India.”
For example, Boeing started work with Dynamatic Technologies in 2010 on P-8I and expanded in 2013 to include the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Boeing inaugurated a plant soon after the launch of Make in India to manufacture critical parts (ramp and pylon) for the Chinook.
Boeing has also announced a JV with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) that will manufacture aerostructures for aircraft and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India. The JV will initially create a manufacturing center of excellence to produce aerostructures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter and will compete for additional manufacturing work packages across Boeing platforms.
Boeing has partnered Rossell Techsys on manufacturing wire harness components for F/A-18 and F-15 programs. Significant joint investment in curriculums and a skill-development project at Rossell with students, in a three-way collaboration including Boeing and NETTUR Technical Training Foundation.
Boeing’s sourcing from India has more than doubled since “Make in India” launched in September 2014. By 2020, we hope to increase it by four times the 2014 level.
We have accelerated our efforts to make in India. Boeing presently has 18 tier I suppliers and 120 indirect suppliers from India providing parts and assemblies covering commodities such as aerostructures, wire harness, composites, forgings, avionics mission systems, and ground support equipment for military aircraft such as the P-8, F/A-18, F-15, CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache, indicative of the complex manufacturing capabilities that Indian companies are capable of developing for the global market.
Walk us through what the signing of the long-pending Apache & Chinook deal means for Boeing…
We look forward to delivering the newest Apache and Chinook and remain focused on delivering on its commitments to the Indian Air Force and India’s Ministry of Defence. The Apache and Chinook represent the best of high-performing attack and heavy lift helicopter technologies from Boeing that will strengthen India’s defense capabilities across a range of military and humanitarian missions.
This acquisition further expands Boeing’s engagement and presence in India. Today, the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are successfully completing their military, surveillance and humanitarian relief missions on Boeing-made C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft and P-8I maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
When will Boeing deliver first batch of Apache & Chinook choppers to India?
Deliveries will commence in 2019.
Recently Boeing selected India’s Tata Advanced Systems to jointly produce aerostructures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. What, according to you, does Boeing’s JV with Tata Advanced Systems mean for Indian aerospace sector?
The JV will initially produce Apache helicopter fuselages for global markets and additional opportunities for the manufacturing and systems integration of Boeing’s platforms are being identified that the entity will be able to competitively bid for. The entity will also explore integrated systems development opportunities in India. Significant investments are being made by both Boeing and TASL to make the JV a success, enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of the country’s industrial base and bring best value to our customers. The co-production and exploration of co-development of technologies with our Indian partners is a key part of our growth strategy.
What is the progress on your defence manufacturing partnership with Tata for drones? What is your take on the market for UAVs in the defence space?
We are in discussions on options for further collaboration opportunities. TASL has demonstrated that it has the capability and growth potential to make a transformational leap in the development of technologies.
There is tremendous potential for the application of UAVs in India for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), coastal surveillance, antipiracy, search and rescue assistance and maritime domain awareness.
Where does India feature in Boeing Defence’s medium & long term plans?
India is one of the most important markets for Boeing internationally. Boeing’s defense trade with India constitutes three-fourths of cumulative defense trade by US companies in India with the sale of C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters to the Indian Air Force, P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, Harpoon missiles to the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy as well as sourcing partnerships with Indian firms.
Boeing sees further opportunities for P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, weapons such as Harpoon missiles, unmanned systems, and services and support.
Boeing’s business strategy has a twin focus in India – firstly, to provide a winning platform to our military customers, with state-of-the-art, reliable, and fuel-efficient products, underscored by life-cycle support services; and secondly, to create an eco-system for the aerospace industry in India, through partnerships with local companies. Going forward, you will see Boeing increasing its presence in India and continue to strengthen its partnerships with Indian companies to align with the government’s Make in India vision.
Are there any new areas in India’s defence sector where Boeing is looking to expand?
Boeing sees further opportunities for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, weapons such as Harpoon missiles and unmanned systems. As the modernization effort of India’s armed forces progresses with the acquisition of new platforms and upgradation of existing ones, a major focus is on ensuring operational readiness to ensure platforms are available through their lifecycle. We are ramping up our support and training capabilities to help customers achieve maximum operational and mission-readiness of their fleet. On our industry strategy, we will continue to increase our engagement with Indian suppliers and invest in long term partnerships.
According to an ET report, Boeing was among the US defence firms that urged PM Modi to simplify the bidding process. What are the policy areas that you think the Indian government needs to work on to encourage private participation in defence?
We are encouraged with many of the policy changes such as FDI and offset. We support the Government of India’s drive towards improving the ease of doing business with India.
PM Modi has time and again stressed on the need for cyber security. What are Boeing’s plans for India’s cyber security market?
Boeing continues to look at ways to support India’s security needs. Boeing has capabilities in all aspects of security to assist in India’s modernization effort.
How important was Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s US visit for furthering defence ties between the two nations?
It signifies that the partnership between the two countries is becoming stronger. We have seen great positive energy and strong participation across our governments.
Source: Defense News