Boeing did not win the Indian MMRCA tender with its F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet but the company continues to be enthusiastic about various Indian military modernisation programmes.
Mark Kronenberg, Vice President International Business Development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said that Boeing was looking forward to supplying a larger number of C 17 strategic airlifters and Apache Longbow helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the Boeing P8-I Long Range Maritime Aircraft (LRMR) and its Medium Range Maritime Aircraft (MRMR) to the Indian Navy.
The technology on board these aircraft, he told India Strategic, would be the best and unbeatable.
The Indian Navy has already decided to buy the 737-based P8-Is for its LRMR requirement while for the MRMR requirement, a tender is due to be floated in the second half of 2012.
Kronenberg said that while Boeing was disappointed that its Super Hornet had missed the selection in IAF’s Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft trials, the company was hopeful of winning in India’s several other programmes for military and Homeland Security requirements. Boeing is the biggest civil and military aerospace company in the world with proven and safe technologies. India has a big modernization programme to replace its vintage systems and Boeing can fill in many requirements, both in terms of technologies and costs.
“India is a very promising market for us and our relationship with India is not based on one -MMRCA - transaction,” he observed.
In fact, Boeing has been upbeat ever since it won major deals for F 15 Eagle, Apache helicopters and other systems from Saudi Arabia recently.
In India also, its AH-64D Longbow Apache is the sole contender remaining in the two-vendor competition. IAF is yet to announce the winner but Russia, which had fielded Mi 28, has already announced that it has lost.
Kronenberg said that he was awaiting word from the Indian Air Force, which had placed an RfP (or tender) for 22 combat helicopters.
All the trials, including radar and weapon firing demonstrations, had been conducted and “we expect to hear some positive announcement in the first half of 2012.”
As per the RfP, deliveries are to start within 36 months from the signing of the contract. “We have started our discussions on the 30 percent offsets and have made a list of our potential suppliers and collaborators,” he added.
Probably in the next financial year.
“Boeing is also in the fray to supply 15 CH 47 Chinook helicopters. The Chinook contract is at an industrial proposal discussion stage which includes modification to the helicopters to Indian specifications,” said Kronenberg.
As for other countries, Kronenberg said that Boeing sees strong opportunities in the international maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) market.
About the Indian Navy's MRMR requirement, he said that capabilities on board the P8-I could be scaled appropriately. But with a common platform, data sharing and maintenance would be much easier than with two different systems.
The Indian Navy has just been granted approval for nine MRMR aircraft by the Ministry of Defence. Top naval officials have told India Strategic that it could take upto the end of the year to float the tender.
In lighter vein, Boeing officials are describing the 737 platform based MRMR as a "diet P8-I." Boeing has been working to configurate it for the past couple of years.
Notably, India’s defence market is worth about US$ 235 billion over the next 10-15 years, according to a paper submitted at a recent defence acquisitions seminar at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA)..
© India Strategic