* Airbus said it is loyal to its promise, will wait for its turn
* Boeing (NYSE: BA ) said it is committed to India's defence modernisation
* Lockheed vowed further investments as part of its F-21 proposal
* France's Dassault said it is ramping up India facility
By Promit Mukherjee
LUCKNOW, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. and European defence firms backed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's military modernisation drive at a defence exhibition on Friday, despite a lengthy procurement process running into years and limited funds.
Airbus SE AIR.PA and U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE: LMT ) LMT.N and Boeing Co . BA.N are eying multi-billion dollar deals under Modi's aim to upgrade an ageing fleet of aircraft and enhance local arms manufacturing to cut imports.
"I feel encouraged overall," Anand Stanley, President and managing director of Airbus India and South Asia, told Reuters.
"Every year the government is doing capital allocation. They are spending," he said.
The military is also looking to buy submarines, warships and battlefield communication systems. But these have made little headway.
Airbus is offering to set up an assembly line in India in partnership with the Tata Group to produce the C295W military transport aircraft as a replacement for Indian Air Force's Avro fleet.
The 120 billion rupee Avro replacement programme has been in the pipeline for almost a decade.
Airbus on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India's Adani (NS: APSE ) Aerospace and Defence, part of the diversified Adani Group, for aircraft services in India and South Asia.
Boeing, which has pitched its F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter for the India air force and navy and is competing with Lockheed Martin's F-21, said it plans to push India's armed forces' drive for modernisation through a suite of five products - the Super Hornet, KC-46 tanker, P-8I aircraft, AH-64E Apache and CH-47(I) Chinook helicopters.
The company said it wants to build a global defence and aerospace ecosystem "that creates jobs and industrial capacity with Make in India," said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India in a statement during the exhibition.
Lockheed Martin, as part of its fighter jet F-21 proposal for the Indian Air Force, signed an MoU with Bharat Electronics Ltd BAJE.NS on Friday to explore industrial opportunities around the F-21 fleet, which is essentially building up a spare and supply ecosystem.
The three aerospace giants, with huge displays at the Defence Expo 2020 held in the northern city of Lucknow, displayed miniaturised versions of the latest aircraft and helicopters that they have pitched to India.
Another French defence firm, Dassault DAST.PA , which recently delivered its first Rafale aircraft to the government in October under a contract to supply 36 units, said it is developing its facility in central India to make the Rafale jets in the subcontinent. ($1 = 71.4300 Indian rupees)
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.