India Looks To Expand Aerospace Manufacturing Sector

 - September 11, 2014, 11:33 AM
Indian companies may manufacture parts for the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian under a recent agreement between India and Japan. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

With a clear mandate from India's 100-day-old government to make aerospace manufacturing a focus area for domestic and export markets, there is renewed interest by manufacturers to be in the forefront. This was clear at a recent conference the Center for Air Power Studies and the Confederation of Indian Industry held in New Delhi.

India is taking stock of aerospace manufacturing opportunities that are expected to arise in offsets from the $72 billion worth of contracts signed or about to be signed for work running through 2021. State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics’ (HAL) current commitments will keep it busy for the next decade, and private-sector involvement in the manufacturing arena is imminent. This follows HAL’s announcement of its decision to “develop as a system integrator and designer [and leave] manufacturing to the Indian industry,” said chairman R.K Tyagi.

India can easily aim for $12 billion in exports in the next decade, said Sujeet Samaadar, CEO of ShinMaywa Industries India, who has “plans to get some aerostructures business to India.” Under a memorandum of cooperation in defense signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Japan, the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian will be Japan's first international military sale in nearly 50 years, one that will enable Indian companies to manufacture parts. “India has innovative solutions to machining. Our Japanese partners were amazed with our work in surface treatment and sheet metal. But in the high end like landing gear and propulsion systems, there are limitations,” Samaadar said.

Lockheed Martin, which has an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems to manufacture parts for the C-130, is exploring the “system or mission side…to develop with an Indian partner,” said Phil Shaw, Lockheed Martin India chief executive. Raytheon is addressing air-to-air and air-to-ground requirements,” said Nikhil Khanna, the company’s India country manager. “We have [also] played a sub role in many projects,” he added. Manufacture related to aero engines might also be in the offing. “We are looking at a project in India,” said Stephane Lauret, Safran India CEO.