Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Delhi: Even as it supports a French bid for an Indian Air Force tender for 126 combat jets, European aerospace major Thales is awaiting the IAF's final nod for upgrading its fleet of Mirage-2000 fighter bombers to enhance their strike capabilities and extend their operational life by at least 20 years.
"We have several significant priorities for India. In the short term the retrofit of the Mirage-2000 aircraft is clearly a strong request and we are working hard on it - Thales is leading this important programme along with its French and Indian industrial partners," Pierre-Yves Chaltiel, Thales' head of solutions for governments sector, told IANS.
"In the mid-term, we are also strongly supporting the Rafale aircraft along with Dassault and Snecma in the bid for India's MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) programme (for the 126 jets)," he added.
Chaltiel is in India for the Aero India-2009 international military air show at Bangalore Feb 11-15, during which Thales will be showcasing its capabilities in the spheres of military aviation, civil aviation, aviation services and security, air traffic management and defence.
Pointing out that the technical and programme issues relating to the Mirage-2000 upgrade "have been discussed and agreed (to)", Chaltiel said: "We have put everything in place with all our Indian industrial partners, through the transfer of knowledge and technology, for the Indian industry to be in full capacity during the execution phases of the programme."
While Thales was reluctant to state figures given a confidentiality clause, the project is believed to be worth $1.5 billion for upgrading the 51 Mirage-2000s in the IAF fleet to Dash-5 levels. This will give the jets multi-role capability with longer-range radars and fire-and-forget missiles, enabling less aircraft to perform a given mission thanks to greater fuel and weapon-delivery capacities.
09/02/09 IANS/Silicon India

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Delhi: With the government stating that the global meltdown had not affected the defence industry, the Indo-French joint venture Samtel-Thales is planning to put up two stalls at the upcoming Aero India Show in Bangalore to display its latest products in the avionics sector.
“We would have on display some of the latest avionics systems including automatic equipment testing, multi function display (MFD) and helmet mounted display (HMD) as also other equipment which would provide complete solution in the avionics sector,” director of Samtel Group, Mr Puneet Kaura, said.
With the Indian defence industry expected to touch almost $100 billion in the coming 10 to 15 years, he felt the market would grow rapidly and “there was need for bigger players from India to take up a larger share of this pie”. The display of avionics equipment at the Aeroshow is part of the exercise by the Samtel group to project itself as a leading manufacturer. The IAF would be beginning trials for 126 aircraft in April-May. “The defence industry is quite insulated and though it had been dominated by public sector undertakings over the last few years Indian private companies have been playing a pivotal role. I think this is good for the country,” Mr Kaura told The Statesman.
The Samtel group had in May 2008 launched a joint venture with the leading French company Thales with plans of making products which would make India part of the global supply chain for civil and military avionics. What has apparently buoyed the company is the government’s plans to speed up the process of defence acquisition. Mr Kaura said “our target is to get 35% of the total supplies specially in regard to avionics as this is an important area for the Indian Air Force which is in the process of modernisation.”
06/02/09 The Statesman

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