Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bangalore: In the backdrop of the deafening roar of military jets in the air and frenzied VIP activity on the ground, quiet discussions are on at Aero India 2007 to clinch deals worth as much as $10 billion each for the global aerospace majors and Indian industry.
This year’s air show has gone past being a mere showcase for state-of-the-art jets and equipment to a busy bazaar where big-ticket international firms and local companies are doing serious business.
Indian companies are hoping to make the best of the Centre’s new offset policy for defence procurement, which could fetch them $10 billion over the next five years.
Orville Prins, vice-president, Business Development (India) of Lockheed Martin (US), calls the air show a “The Indian budget for military acquisition will jump substantially over the next five years and we hope to pitch for a market of $10 billion over the next 10 years”.
Other players like Boeing, Northrop Grumman Corporation (both US companies) and Bombardier Inc of Canada are looking for the same. Dr Dinesh A Keskar, senior vice-president for sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says “We (Boeing) have revised our market projections (made in 2005 for India) from $35 billion over the next 20 years to $72 billion”.
On Friday, Larsen and Toubro Limited and European Aerospace and Defence Group took the first step towards joint exploration of business opportunities in defence and aerospace. MV Kotwal, senior executive vice-president of L&T, and Daniel Baubil, executive vice-president and head of global industrial development of EADS, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a long-term, profitable and stable relationship to address the requirements of aerospace and defence markets in India and abroad.
In a related development, French defence, electronics and aerospace major Thales was chosen by Chennai-based pilot training academy Rudradev Aviation to supply four advanced flight simulators worth $60 million.
09/02/07 BR Srikanth/Hindustan Times

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