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Aircraft manufacturers submit vendor lists

Aircraft manufacturers submit vendor lists

Bangalore: Global aircraft manufacturers bidding to supply 126 fighter jets to India submitted on Monday lists of local vendors from whom they would source components and systems if they win the country’s biggest order for military planes.

In a bid to boost domestic arms and component manufacturers, defence procurement policy, or DPP, mandates that foreign arms sellers have to buy equipment worth 30% of the contract value if it exceeds Rs300 crore.

For the fighter planes contract, that limit has been extended to nearly 50% of the value of the contract. The government unveiled a new policy on 1 August.

Six international aircraft makers submitted their bids for the contract in April.

Analysts say Indian industry would benefit by being a “licensed manufacturer" of aerospace components, but remain backward in gaining technology unless the government clearly spells out its policy on technology transfer

“I don’t think the latest DPP has thrown clarity on this,“ said Deba R. Mohanty, senior fellow for security studies at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank.

“We also still don’t know the capabilities of the Indian industry to assimilate the technology," he added.

Indian manufacturers such as the Tata group, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and software firms such as Infosys Technologies Ltd, Wipro Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd are among those who have inked contracts with firms such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. to execute these contracts.

“HAL will be the prime contractor. We will work with the vendors chosen by the winner (of the deal)," said M. Fakruddin, director of corporate planning at state-owned military aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, or HAL.

HAL will manufacture 108 of the 126 planes under a licence, once the manufacturer delivers the first batch of 18 jets in three years of signing the deal.

In the fray are Russia’s MiG-35 made by RAC MiG, Swedish JAS-39 made by Gripen, American F-16 Falcon by Lockheed Martin Corp., Rafale of Dassault Aviation SA, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms.

“We are already establishing the groundwork that will lead us to success in this large undertaking through early engagement of Indian industry, both public and private," Vivek Lall, vice-president and India country head of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, said in a statement.

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