BAE scouts for manufacturing partners in India

BAE scouts for manufacturing partners in India

Mumbai: Less than a year after tying up with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for manufacturing its Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft, HT001, the world’s third largest defence company by sales, BAE Systems SWS Defence AB of Sweden, is now scouting for manufacturing partners in India to make armoured combat vehicles, major and minor calibre naval guns and missile launchers, canisters, artillery systems, and intelligent munitions among others.

According to a senior BAE Systems executive who did not wish to be identified, the company is talking to leading Indian companies such as Tata Power Co. Ltd, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd and a few others to make “these land ammunition and armaments in India under technology licence agreement."

A Mahindra & Mahindra spokeswoman declined comment; Tata officials could not be reached over the weekend.

A person familiar with the development who did not wish to be identified said the Swedish firm had visited Larsen & Toubro last week as part of a Swedish business delegation currently visiting India.

Mahindra’s defence systems division manufactures vehicles for the Indian Army using its own technology.

Tata Power Company had in December informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that the Government of India has issued the company’s Strategic Electronics Division (SED) a licence to be the prime contractor to the ministry of defence for designing, developing, manufacturing, assembling and upgrading mission-critical systems in seven core areas of defence strategic electronics.

In the statement to BSE, Tata SED’s chief executive officer Rahul Chaudhry had said that the licence would create a domestic market worth more than Rs20,000 crore over the next five years, and that the company’s systems design, engineering and testing services would also be targeted at the export market.

In early 2006, Tata Power won orders for the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher System from the Indian Army and the futuristic automatic data handling system for air defence from the Indian Air Force.

“The local partnership will be used for manufacturing armaments for India as it is a major customer for the company. We have initiated talks with a few big players here, but nothing has been finalized," the BAE executive said.

BAE Systems, which owns the brand Bofors, delivers a range of products and services for air, land and naval forces. With 88,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems’ sales exceeded £15 billion (Rs1.23 trillion) in 2006.

In December 2006, BAE Systems signed a manufacturing deal with Hindustan Aeronautics to manufacture 42 of its first 66 HT001 Hawk advanced jet trainers for the Indian Air Force.

BAE’s land systems business is made up of six lines of business.