Italian defence major Finmeccanica will unveil its products at Aero India 2009, starting on Wednesday in Bangalore, through its companies AgustaWestland, Alenia Aeronautica, DRS Technologies, Selex Communications, Selex Galileo and Wass.
The company feels that Indian market is growing in all sectors in which Finmeccanica operates, and has a budget that can support the modernisation of services connected with defence. It is also keen to use an increasing demand for new civil infrastructure.
Particularly interesting to the group are the opportunities in the helicopters and aeronautics businesses; new programmes are also planned for the naval sector regarding all classes of ships, along with projects aimed at improving their interoperability. New acquisitions and modernisation programmes have also been launched in land systems, and there are further opportunities in the homeland security and transport segments.
Helped by its solid presence in the country, where the group has an office in New Delhi, and by its long-term industrial alliances in the helicopters, radar systems, communications, naval guns and light torpedoes, and in order to face future challenges, Finmeccanica is involved in creating new partnerships and strengthening those already existing with major local companies.
A strategic collaboration with the Tata group is currently being defined, and a number of specific projects are being developed with BEL, HAL, BDL and BHEL.
In the helicopters business, the tender for the supply of 12 VVIP helicopters to the armed forces has reached a critical significant stage. AgustaWestland's AW101 is an ideal candidate, especially in view of its success in other markets. Other areas of potential interest for AgustaWestland include the modernisation of the fleet of Sea King helicopters in use by the Indian Navy, the supply of helicopters to the Coast Guard (including some for search and & rescue and maritime patrol operations), 16 multi-role aircraft for naval use and a further 22 helicopters for the Indian Air Force's light combat aircraft requirements.
There are further opportunities in civil and government transport, with market estimates of around 10-15 helicopters per year. Finally, there is scope for partnership agreements with major Indian players across a range of strategic areas.
In the aeronautics sector, the group is testing if Alenia Aeronautica's ATR72ASW and ATR42MP aircraft could meet the requirements for a new medium range anti-submarine aircraft for the Indian Navy and a maritime patrol aircraft for the Coast Guard. India could also benefit from the great success achieved in the subcontinent by ATR, the Alenia Aeronautica-EADS joint venture, with about 100 aircraft of this type in service with the main Indian airlines.
Alenia Aeronautica, as a partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is also extremely interested in the MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) programme for 126 combat aircraft, for which the Eurofighter Typhoon is also competing, with EADS Germany leading the campaign. In addition, the C-27J twin engine aircraft, designed and developed by Alenia Aeronautica, could meet future needs for a tactical transport aircraft, partly thanks to its interoperability with the C-130J recently ordered by the Indian Air Force.
In the Defence Electronics and Security business, Selex Sistemi Integrati, which for many years, together with BEL, has been supplying India with radar systems for air traffic control, is also involved in promoting integrated combat systems for the Indian Navy's new naval units, the C3I and C4I systems based on netcentric architecture, and radar systems for both naval use and coastal and land applications.
Selex Galileo is pursuing opportunities connected with the need to modernise existing platforms with next-generation sensor systems. In the Indian market, for airborne surveillance, Finmeccanica offers solutions such as the Seaspray AESA radar and the ATOS mission management system, leveraging on recent market success.
Airborne self protection and situation awareness systems already in use by customers throughout the world are proposed both for rotary and fixed wing platforms. Further, in the land domain, Selex Galileo can deliver full situation awareness capability, together with fire control systems for the main battle tanks and armoured vehicles programmes.
Following the recent award to Selex Galileo of the service contract for the Mirach.
100/5 target system with ITR (integrated test range), the company is now poised to sell complete target drone systems. In India, the company is working with the Defence Research & Development Organisation to jointly develop new products both for the Indian armed forces and the wider export market.
In the near future, Selex Communications, which has long-term cooperation with HAL and BEL in avionics and naval communications, could provide its expertise in protected military communication systems and next-generation systems.
Finmeccanica is also involved in some of the major programmes under way in India relating to tactical communications and the telecommunications component of battle management systems. In this area, DRS Technologies, a US company recently acquired by Finmeccanica and leading supplier of integrated products and support services in defence electronics, offers to the Indian market ultra-rugged solutions for data presentation and calculation that can operate extremely efficiently even in critical operational theatres.
Selex Sistemi Integrati provides complete solutions for the protection of land and maritime borders, the security of airports, ports, railway stations and the protection of critical infrastructures and at major events. Elsag Datamat offers licence plate reading systems, biometric sensors, mobile check points and other technology for police forces.
An area of great interest for Oto Melara is the large calibre naval guns business, in which Finmeccanica is promoting its 127/64 lightweight guns with the Vulcan long-range munitions. The medium-calibre 76/72 super rapid naval gun is the Indian market leader and produced under licence by BHEL.
In the underwater systems business, where Wass has operated in India since 1978 along with BDL and other local companies, there are significant opportunities for the new version of the A244/S light torpedo and the Black Shark heavy torpedo.
The space sector represents a new area for joint activities. Telespazio, the joint venture with Thale, could exploit concrete opportunities in the satellite services and payload business, given the ever-increasing demand from the Indian armed forces for services relating to military applications for new satellites and those already in orbit.
Other synergies could arise in the public transport sector (train and metro), in both platforms and signalling, security and telecommunications systems, as well as in new traffic management systems for the country's major cities. Additionally, the energy market, which is traditionally very solid, presents significant opportunities in the building of new power stations for both traditional and alternative sources of energy.