Chicago: The Boeing Company and Tata Industries Limited of India have agreed to form a joint-venture company that is initially expected to handle more than $500 million of defence-related aerospace component work in India for export to Boeing and its international customers. The announcement comes even as Boeing said Tuesday that it plans to bid for as much as $15 billion of military contracts in India over the next 10 years
According to industry figures sales at its defence unit dipped 1.1 per cent to $32.1 billion last year. It is important that Boeing address India's defence imports which are expected to go up 12-times to $30 billion by 2012, according to industry body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India.
Meanwhile under the MoU signed by Boeing and Tata, it is envisaged that the joint-venture company will be established by June 2008, and begin manufacture of aerospace components for Boeing shortly thereafter.
"I am very excited to announce this agreement," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "It represents another step in our commitment to India, in this case by linking the capabilities and heritages of these two companies, in order to bring real and lasting value to India's aerospace industry, while making Boeing products more globally competitive."
A statement from Boeing said that it is the intent of both the companies to not only utilize existing Tata manufacturing capability, but also to develop new supply sources throughout the Indian manufacturing and engineering communities for both commercial and defence applications.
"This joint venture between Tata and Boeing is an important part of our strategy to build capabilities in defence and aerospace," said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group. "I look forward to the joint venture becoming a world-class facility in India."
Significantly, the statement also said that manufacturing capabilities established through the joint-venture company would in later phases be leveraged across multiple Boeing programmes, including the Indian Air Force's medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender.
As visualised, Boeing would potentially issue contracts for work packages to the joint-venture company involving defence-related component manufacturing on Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet for the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force, CH-47 Chinook and/or P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft in the first phase of the agreement.
Reports emerging earlier in the media have suggested that Boeing may also put on offer the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters.
Also contemplated under the agreement is a research and development centre for advanced manufacturing technologies.
"Boeing is strengthening and deepening its partnerships with Indian industry through a wide range of new teaming opportunities," said Ian Thomas, president of Boeing India. "Our joint venture with Tata marks a significant milestone in our ongoing journey to build world-class aerospace and defence manufacturing capability in India."
Boeing says that its history in India goes back more than 60 years, during which period it has worked with airline customers, parts suppliers, research institutes and others to provide products and services.
In December 2003, Boeing established a wholly owned subsidiary, Boeing International Corporation India Private Limited (BICIPL), to support the growing demands of India's aviation, aerospace and defence industries.