As Indian companies strive to ascend the aerospace engineering value chain, they have big ambitions to build partnerships and tap defense offsets at various stages of product development. These include design, analysis, optimization and validation, virtual prototyping and testing, digital manufacturing, product data management and technical publications.
Backed by a $1.2 billion fund, Axis Aerospace Technologies (AAT) wants to make an acquisition in Europe related to engineering design services. “The company we are looking at must have a good customer base,” vice chairman Sudhakar Gande told AIN.
The mid-sized acquisition is expected to be in the range of $10- to $25 million. Gearing up for the barrage of defense offsets to come, AAT’s desired takeover target will cover project lifecycle management. “We will [also] strengthen our capabilities through acquisitions inembedded systems and other areas,” Gande added.
AAT (Hall 4 Stand F5) has increased its revenues at around 50 percent year-on-year for the last three years, and it expects to grow at a similar pace in 2012. With revenues of $55 million last year, the company employs 1,500 engineers who service more than 70 customers and delivery centers handled by sales offices in 12 locations worldwide.
Last year, Airbus chose Axis subsidiary Cades as its offshore development center (ODC)for fuselage design. Work packages for the European airframer includeconcessions (handling manufacturing and assembly deviations),product design, modification and weight reduction on aerostructures, service repair manual and life extension tasks for in-service aircraft on the A380, A350XWB, A330, A340, A320 and A400M platforms.
AAT expects to get AP1020 authorized signatory status for design changes from Airbus by the end of the year. “This will enable us to win even more complex design work packages,” explained Gande. “It will be continuous business as we become part of their supply chain. This will also enable us to sign concessions on their behalf.”
Last year, AAT signed a cooperation agreement with Germany’s Premium Aerotech for ODC aerostructures engineering services.The Indian firm mainly works on composite primary structures for fuselages, as well as providing design support and stress and fatigue analysis for Premium, which is a major supplier to Airbus and other airframers.
Major AAT clients includeBombardier, DCNS, Thales and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., as well as India’s defense ministry and defense research and development organization labs. AAT also has ambitions in electronic warfare and recently developed EW systems for classroom training for the Indian military.
The company is currently working for Dassault on Mirage upgrades. “Defense offsets will be a significant part of our long-term growth plans. However, winning defense offsets involves very long sales cycle times,” said Gande.
AAT interests in aerospace life cycle support extend to the Devanhalli Aerospace Park in Bangalore, where the company has been acquiring government-owned land. It plans to use this to develop a facility for manufacturing aerospace components, as well as for training and maintenance.