Bangalore: Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, is in talks with Indian companies to form five joint ventures for manufacturing engine parts in India, a company executive said on Tuesday.
The unit expects to announce one joint venture in the next few weeks, Vivek Saxena, India country manager of Pratt & Whitney, said at a media briefing ahead of the biennial Indian air show in the southern city of Bangalore.
Global defense manufacturers are looking to take advantage of the growing defense budget in Asia’s third-largest economy as they face cutbacks in their home countries.
The United States’ drive to pare its military budget may slow the growth of Pratt & Whitney’s sales of engines for the upcoming F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the engine maker’s chief executive said last month.
Pratt has been battling in Washington against rivals General Electric Co and Rolls-Royce Group’s proposed alternate engine for the aircraft, which the Obama administration says is unnecessary, but GE officials argue could cut the program’s costs over time by offering competition.
Pratt & Whitney is also working with 16 Indian engine parts suppliers.
“Quality has always been a big issue in aerospace parts manufacturing in India,” Saxena said. “We are working to bring the suppliers up to speed with our standards.”
In 2009, India introduced a new rule that made it mandatory for foreign defense firms to buy 30% of their equipment from local firms to boost the domestic defence sector. India is now looking to raise that figure to 70% within a decade.
Sikorsky Aircraft, also a unit of UTC, expects Indian demand for helicopters to reach $21.4 billion in the next 20 years, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
Many global defense manufacturers will unveil new products at the air show in India, including those vying for an $11 billion order to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 fighter jets.
India’s tender wil be one of the biggest export orders in the history of defense as the country looks to spend upto $50 billion over the next five years to upgrade its military to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.
Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-16, Russia’s MiG-35, Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of European firms, are competing for the order.