Aerospace Daily-Aviation Week
Nov 10, 2010
NEW DELHI – The Indian air force has reached a preliminary agreement with Boeing to purchase 10 C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.
They will replace the IAF’s fleet of more than a dozen Russian Ilyushin Il-76s.
The $4.1 billion deal comes in the wake of President Barack Obama’s visit to India, during which the U.S. removed some Indian laboratories from its restricted entities export list and Obama vowed to make sure “unnecessary barriers don’t stand in the way of high-tech trade between our countries.”
“JVs [joint ventures] and M&As [mergers and acquisitions] are always something to look at. We acquired Narus with a huge presence in India,” says Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft. “Our business is pretty strong. If you look at what’s going in the states, F/A-18 remains a rock-solid production line until the middle of the decade. The C-17 production will take us to the 2013 time frame. In essence, it [the India project] sustains 20,000 jobs over 44 states and also gives us another opportunity for offsets and strengthens partnerships in India.”
Chadwick did not commit Boeing to any future co-development projects with India government entities such as the Defense Research and Development Organization.
Boeing is also studying a request for information for a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned vehicle, says Vivek Lall, vice president for defense, space and security of Boeing India. In addition, the Indian navy has ordered eight Boeing P-8I aircraft to replace its aging fleet of eight Tupolev Tu-42s and two Ilyushin Il-38s.
“We should be bending metal over the next few months for the P-8I, [which is] on target for delivery in 2013 to the Indian navy,” Chadwick says. “We have not been formally notified for four more,” he said.
Meanwhile, Boeing remains undecided about participating in India’s program to buy six midair refuelers, which has a proposal deadline of Dec. 15. “We are holding judgment as we see how that will play out … [we] think that decision will drive us and EADS …” Chadwick says.
India canceled a previous contract to buy A330-based refuelers from Airbus on Dec. 30, 2009. The program was rebid in September. With Boeing currently in competition with EADS to produce U.S. Air Force tankers, it is likely that the two companies will not decide to participate in the Indian tender until after the U.S. decision on the refuelers is made. An announcement is expected on Nov. 12.
In another matter, Indian helicopter trials have been completed for 22 Boeing Apaches and 15 Chinooks. “Our focus is putting the best product in the competition with the right amount of capability,” Chadwick says.
- Neelam Mathews