Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mahindra Satyam To Make Low-Cost Simulators


AWIN First Jul 19 , 2010
Neelam Mathews

With demand for small control systems creating a lucrative opportunity in India, business and information technology services company Mahindra Satyam is planning to design and manufacture low-cost simulators and landing gear.

“We are starting with simulators for business aircraft, which can be expandable to larger ones later. However, simulator design is extremely complex and challenging. We are starting with the mechanical portion and integration -- not software as yet,” Ramaseshan Satagopan, head of aerospace engineering at Mahindra Satyam.

This will present Mahindra Satyam with offset opportunities in defense as well, because large orders for medium, multi-role combat aircraft will require simulators and the capability to provide related training and technical manuals, says Ramaseshan.

“With capabilities in design-related manufacturing, including machining and special processing, landing gear capability will be available in two to three years,” he adds.

Partnerships have been signed with key design houses to acquire capability, and the company is moving forward with work packages in design analysis and manufacturing support.

In India’s aerospace domain, 45% of outsourcing is in structures. Mahindra Satyam is looking at a design-to-build strategy in the long term, following the model of its principal company Mahindra Group, which acquired Australian companies Aerostaff Australia, manufacturer of high-precision, close-tolerance aircraft components and assemblies for large aerospace OEMs, and Gippsland Aeronautics, a general aviation brand that has delivered more than 200 FAR 23 certified planes in 32 countries. Recently, the company bought excess sheet-metal-making equipment from Boeing in Melbourne,

The avionics business is likely to rise sharply in the next few years. Mahindra Satyam has a large vertical niche presence in avionics, where it plans to take a partnership approach.

“We understand the challenges [to deliver a quality product]. If you want to do conceptual design, there is limited experience in the country in aerospace. We realize partnerships are the key,” says Ramaseshan. He adds that a mind-set towards quality is still lacking, as is the need to institutionalize training programs.

“The aerospace industry will explode in another 10 years here. If India does not catch the wave, we will lose it. The challenge is how to consume this business, scale up, make available skills and enter into partnerships with like-minded people,” adds Ramaseshan.

A major challenge is certification, as India does not have a bilateral treaty signed with the U.S. “This will come in the way of growth,” says Ramaseshan.

ITAR regulations mandate permission from the U.S., which might prove to be a show stopper.

“Some technology like composites have already been used in Indian indigenous projects. The U.S should review technology already available in India…,” says Ramaseshan.

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