Saturday, February 23, 2019

Aero India 2019: Shuttler PV Sindhu Flies HAL's Combat Aircraft TEJAS

India's Badminton great PV Sindhu waves from the cockpit of twin-seater Tejas at AERO India

The Bangalore Air Show is observing Women's Day today

BANGALORE: Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu took a flight in HAL’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas at the Bangalore Air Show on Saturday.

Terming the opportunity to fly Tejas as a “great experience”, the 23-year-old said that she is really "honoured." 

“It was definitely a great experience, great opportunity and I am really honoured. The captain showed me like all the stunts-how it is and what it is- so definitely a great opportunity,” Sindhu told reporters after the sortie. 

Talking about the aircraft, the Olympics Silver medallist said, “Tejas, we all know, is the real hero so definitely a great pleasure for me.”

The Bangalore Air Show is observing Women's Day today. "They have given me this opportunity to fly Tejas. It is a great day for me and I will definitely remember this," Sindhu said. 

Earlier, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had flown the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) during the ongoing show at Air Force Station at Yelahanka.

HAL Hawk All Set To Fire Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW)

In April-May HAL will test an entirely new weapon system over the sea from an aircraft flying at around 20,000 ft, and glide over towards a designated target some 80 km away. The weapon in question, is DRDO's latest baby the SAAW — short for Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon, a munition designed to destroy runways at stand-off distances. The aircraft dropping the weapon will be a Hawk-i, on its first ever weapons run. The weapon will by guided to its target by an Israeli Litening laser designator pod on the aircraft.

IDN at Aero India 2019

Aero India 2019: NAG ATGM To Enter Production By End-2019

NAG's airborne version HELINA being test fired from RUDRA attack gunship

The Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is finally set to enter production by the end of 2019 as confirmed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Aero India 2019.

The system will undergo final summer user trials in May-June this year after it successfully completed its winter user trials in December 2018. The user trials commenced after a protracted period of validation tests, in part due to the performance of the imaging infrared (IIR) seeker head.

MSR Prasad, Director General of Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) DRDO, told Jane’s , “We have completed a series of developmental trials in the past three years under PROSPINA (Product Support and Product Improvement and Induction of Nag) mission mode project.

Aero India 2019: DRDO Details Short-Range MPATGM

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has provided details of its man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) during the 20–24 February Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bangalore.

“The missile is in development and guided flight tests are scheduled by mid-2019,” a Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) official told Jane’s . Two test-firings were conducted in September last year.

The MPATGM is described by DRDL, which is the nodal agency for the development, as a “third-generation” anti-tank missile, measuring 1,300 mm in length and 120 mm in diameter, with a weight of 14.5 kg. The command launch unit (CLU) weighs 14.25 kg.

Tejas Team Confident of Indigenous Large Passenger Plane Roll-Out In 5-7 Years

Indian engineers are confident of making the country's first home-grown passenger plane in quick time at a competitive price following the success of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas getting full operational clearance (FOC).

With a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in place, experts believe the country could propel a 70-90 seat passenger plane from the drawing board to the runway in five-seven years at about 20 per cent price advantage when compared to global competition.

Bangalore-based National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) has already amassed a wealth of experience by working on Tejas and Saras, a small 14-seater passenger plane undergoing flight tests after nearly two decades in the making.

"Today we have an SPV and mostly in an autonomous manner we want to ensure that a regional transport aircraft (RTA) with a capacity of 70 to 90 passengers should be developed using indigenous technologies as we have developed under the LCA and others," VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog member and former director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), told CNN News18.

"We have the right ecosystem, in terms of private industries that could complement the development, for it. I feel an RTA can be developed in the next five to seven years if we are in a position to take decisions at this stage," Saraswat said at the venue of Aero India 2019.

The SPV can have stakeholders from the DRDO, the state-sector aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and academic institutions. Dr Kota Harinarayan, acknowledged as the father of the LCA for directing the project for over 20 years from start to the first two jets, is also in the team.

"I'm 100 per cent sure we will make it price-competitive. We can make it at least 20 per cent cheaper and 20 per cent is a big difference for an airline operator to buy an aircraft," CNN News18 quoted Harinarayan as saying.


Indian Navy looking for another aircraft for its carrier operation within another five years. In Picture: HAL Naval Tejas prototype takes-off from the Shore Based Test Facility at INS Hansa, GoaWiki Commons/Indian Navy

Dr Saraswat is of the view that the nation needs a policy push to enter the development of a large passenger aircraft in the public sector. "The most important thing is to gain the confidence of airlines because airlines are commercial entities. They want the minimum operating cost, with maximum comfort to the user. Of course, the price is a major criterion. So when we design now, we will cater for all this," Saraswat said.

"But the government will have to ensure preferential market access to indigenously-developed planes. At least government-owned airlines must prefer the indigenous aircraft over others," he said.

Such a project would ensure private participation like in the case of the LCA. There is already a competent private industry ecosystem to ensure that design and development will not take much time.


Pak's Flip-Flop On Terror Financing: Complete Action Plan By May 2019, FATF Slams Pakistan

Financial Action Task Force the international financial watchdog in effect warned Pakistan to stick to the deadlines and not miss them again - as they have this time

PARIS: In yet another set back to Pakistan and its beleaguered Imran Khan-led regime vis-a-vis its flip-flop on terror financing, the anti-money global body Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday said it will continue to keep Islamabad in the 'grey list'.

This move is also seen as a minor win for India's efforts as post-Pulwama, Indian agencies submitted dossiers to the FATF urging it that Pakistan should not given any relief.

The FATF held its plenary sitting from February 17 and the deliberations completed on Friday.

In a statement, the FATF said: "Due to the limited progress on action plan item due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with the timeliness of May 2019".

The international financial watchdog in effect warned Pakistan to stick to the deadlines and not miss them again - as they have this time. The FATF list matters vis-a-vis terror funding will be reviewed again in June and October later this year.

Sources say India is keen to push for inclusion of Pakistan in the FATF 'black list' like Iran and North Korea.

The blacklisting of Pakistan could only add to the economic woes for the cash-strapped nation which is faced with balance of payment crisis.

Indian government sources say the FATF can 'blacklist' Pakistan if convinced of its role in the Pulwama attack and its complicity in terror funding.

Actions from FATF may lead to "downgrading" of Pakistan by global lenders such as IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Union.

In a desperate move on Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday 'reinstated' ban on Hafeez Saeed-led Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD).

The JuD is a front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror group which had carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed.

The Pakistan government has also decided to ban JuD's charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

SHOCKING: Major Blaze In Car Parking Lot At Aero India Venue

Absolutely shocking. Major fire in Aero India 2019 parking lot guts over 100 vehicles (unconfirmed). The Karnataka Fire Department fought really hard to control the blaze. As of now flight display suspended. Fire under control now, no aircraft affected. It is assumed that grass fire spread to the cars.

I am at the base and everyone is OK, but many vehicles destroyed. Thankfully, my vehicle not affected as it was parked in another lot. The fire was in the car parking area opposite of the Yelahanka Air Force Station. There is total barricade at the base now for security reasons by the fire department.

Our Bureau

Aero India 2019: India To Receive Second Scorpene-Class Submarine By April 2019

The Indian Navy will likely receive its second Scorpene-class submarine, Khanderi by March, or April 2019.

The matter was confirmed with Jane's by chairman and managing director of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL), Commodore Rakesh Anand, at Aero India 2019.

Meanwhile, the third submarine Karanj is also likely to be delivered by end of year 2019, he added. Both Khanderi and Karanj are currently undergoing sea acceptance trials.

The program's first-of-class, INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017, after a delay of more than six years from the original contracted timelines.

The contract for the licensed production of six Scorpene-class submarines at MDL, Mumbai, was signed on 6 October 2005 under Project 75.

Aero India 2019: What Makes These Eight Flying Machines So Impressive 

The Dakota DC-3 transport aircraft had an exemplary service record for the IAF

From old, trusted warhorses like the Dakota and B-52 to the more modern machines like the Rafale and Tejas to aerobatic display teams pulling off stunning manoeuvres — the ongoing Aero India is as stellar as ever.

ET takes a look at the history and origin of these jets and finds out what makes them so impressive:

1. Dakota DC-3 — The Vintage

The aircraft that catches one’s attention at the aerial display is the vintage Douglas DC-3, rechristened as Parashurama. An Indian military aircraft, Dakota was at the forefront of operations from 1947 to 1971 and played a pivotal role in the 1947-48 India-Pakistan war.

The old workhorse was fully restored to its original glory in 2018 and it is now part of Bangalore’s Aero show. Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar got the aircraft from scrap in 2011 and restored it to flying condition in UK before gifting it to the IAF.

1944: It was inducted into IAF as the first major transport aircraft.

2. ​ALH (MK IV) Rudra — Lethal Weapon

The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra is the first real armed helicopter being produced indigenously in India. Post-Kargil war, there was a need for helicopters capable of delivering a lethal punch at the demanding altitudes and environs of the Siachen glacier.

The HAL rose to the challenge and manufactured ALH Rudra in record time. With its weapon system integrated feature, the machine is a modified version of ALH Dhruv. The helicopter was displayed for the first time at the 2013 Aero India show.

Aircraft Type: Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH)
Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
Year of origin: 2013

3. ​LCA Tejas — The fighter

Able to climb fast and carry out different manoeuvres, the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas performs stunts that are a must watch. The single-engine, lightweight, highly-agile and multi-role supersonic fighter is a realisation of India’s over 30-year-old dream for an indigenous model combat aircraft. The LCA Tejas is able to perform air-to-ground attacks, air-to-air refuelling and dispense weapons on the targets. Its ability to turn with a short radius makes it a formidable flying machine.


It is a major milestone for the LCA to get the final operational clearance. The aircraft could fly in many sorties and has demonstrated the precision with which it can deliver weapons. The aircraft performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF's Vayu Shakti air display at Pokhran in Rajasthan on February 16.

​IAF's Request

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan said HAL had responded to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by the IAF for 83 LCA Mk-1.


The FOC involves addition of capabilities to the initial operational clearance (IOC) aircraft which are beyond visual range missile capabilities.

The regulator's document provides capabilities, features and technologies that FOC standard aircraft will have on induction into the IAF.


The FOC standard aircraft drawings have been handed over to HAL to start production after incorporating changes over the IOC. The regulator gave IOC to the combat aircraft in 2013 and inducted it into the IAF 45 Squadron in July 2016.


HAL plans to give 16 Tejas fighter aircraft by year-end.

Aircraft type: Multi-Role Light Fighter
Unit cost: Rs 162 crore
Designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency with HAL as the principal partner.
Final operational clearance: 2019

4. ​Rafale — The Disrupter

With daring feats, Rafale has been a cynosure of eyes at the Aero India show this year. While showcasing its power, the aircraft paid a mid-air tribute to IAF pilot Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi by flying slow. The twin-engine, multi-role aircraft is able to carry out short- and long range missions, including ground and sea attacks, aerial reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.

Country of origin: France
Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
India is expected to get first of the 36 Rafales by September this year

5. B 52 — The Bomberman

An aircraft that strikes one’s attention is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, an American long-range, subsonic, jet powered strategic bomber. It is capable of carrying up to 32,000 kg of weapons and has a typical combat range of more than 14,080 km without aerial refuelling. A veteran of several wars including the Vietnam and Gulf wars, the aircraft is still in service, despite the presence of more advanced aircraft, thanks to its superior performance and relatively low operating costs.

Manufacturer: Boeing
Year of origin: 1952
It is expected to continue to serve even in 2050s

6. ​Sukhoi SU-30MKI — The Backbone

Among the most versatile aircraft, the Bangalore-made Russian jets can perform complex manoeuvres under pilot control. The IAF’s staple warhorse, the Sukhoi has been used by the IAF since 2002 and is expected to form its backbone for the years to come.

Aircraft type: Multi-role air superiority fighter
Country of origin: Russia
Year of origin: 2002
Unit cost: Rs 358 crore in 2014

​7. Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) — The Showmen

Conspicuous by its absence at the Aero Show, SKAT is an aerobatics (coined from aerial-acrobatics) demonstration team of 13 pilots who carry out complex, visually appealing manoeuvres with turns, loops, barrel rolls and inverted runs. After the team lost one of its star pilots in an accident during the rehearsals, three IAF aircraft — Tejas, Su-30 MKI and the Jaguar — flew a ‘missing man formation’. The formation is usually done at the funerals of pilots as a tribute.

Aircraft currently used: Hawk MK 132
Aircraft type: Advanced jet trainer (AJT)
Country of origin of aircraft: England
Year of team formation: 1996
Base: Bidar, Karnataka
No of aircraft: 9

8. ​Sarang Display Team — The Peacocks

A befitting complement to the Surya Kiran team, Sarang is IAF’s helicopter display team. Their displays are characterised by four striking, peacock themed choppers that perform a variety of manoeuvres, enhanced by the thick smoke trailing the choppers. Sarang’s moves get a lot of appreciation from the spectators.

Aircraft used: HAL Dhruv
Aircraft type: Utility helicopter
Base: Sulur Air Force Station, near Coimbatore
Year of team formation: 2003
Unit cost: Rs 40 crore

Aero India 2019: An Israeli Data Link For IAF

The Indian Air Force is currently testing its first Bnet radio stations provided by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Israel. The system should be operational by 2020.

In 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 1,000 Bnet tactical radio sets from Israeli industrialist Rafael. The system is described by Rafael as an IP data link based on software radio.

Broadband MANET IP Software Defined Radio

The Bnet Data Link system has a wide range of operational capability

In operations that demand high mobility and connectivity, yet no infrastructure, Rafael’s BNET is the optimal solution. BNET is an advanced IP Mobile Adhoc Network (MANET) Software Defined Radio (SDR) for tactical operations.

With unique high spectrum efficiency, as well as cognitive capabilities, the BNET offers exceptional connectivity, enhancing the exchange of information on the battlefield. Providing simultaneous voice, data and video communication, BNET offers capacity, scalability, low latency and quality of service (QoS). 

The Bnet system works simultaneously and automatically on hundreds of frequencies to create a single, high-speed, secure broadcast frequency. According to Rafael, the system allows the exchange of voice communications or videos at a rate of 100 megabit per second. According to Rafael, this is a disruptive technology compared to traditional communication systems.

The 1,000 radios will be locally manufactured by ARC a joint venture of Rafael with Astra. They will be integrated on air platforms such as the Jaguar, the MiG-21 or the Sukhoi Su-30. Radios will also be used on the ground. The system is expected to be operational by 2020. Some Bnet stations have already been delivered and are undergoing testing by the IAF.

IDN at Aero India 2019

Aero India 2019: The French Are Doing Great With The Rafale At The Air Show

The first Indian Rafale will be armed with MBDA missiles. But India has not yet selected targeting pods or bombs. However, a report suggested that DRDO has developed an advanced and most sought after indigenous weapon targeting system in the world, which sharpens the attack capabilities of fighter jets in all-weather conditions. This device could be integrated both in the Rafale and the TEJAS variants. Laser Designator Pods (LDPs) are complex laser targeting systems used by the military. American firm Lockheed Martin has been developing a cost-effective fibre laser system that will be demonstrated on a fighter jet in 2021. According to sources, DRDO scientists has claimed that their laser designator pod is highly cost-effective and accurate.

In 2019, India should receive its first Rafale. The first unit of an order of 36 fighters. The contract with French manufacturers also includes the supply of MICA and METEOR air-to-air missiles and MBDA's Scalp / Storm Shadow cruise missile.

On the French side, Thales offers the Talios pod, which was qualified on Rafale at the end of 2018 as part of the F3R standard. At the Aero India show, the French manufacturer presented the features and quality of the sensors currently available with the Talios. But Thales also insists on expected changes to the system as part of the F4 Rafale standard which is under development. For example, Talios can be paired with the helmet viewfinder which must be integrated on Rafale F4. Thales also offers a feature called "Permanent Vision" a three-dimensional cartographic representation of the area in which the Rafale operates. This vision indicates in particular the area of ​​sight of the pod. Thales also wants to use artificial intelligence to allow the pod to automatically identify ground targets. Finally, features developed for the Reco-NG pod will be integrated to allow the Talios to also perform reconnaissance missions. This would truly make the Indian Rafale the most advanced and unsurpassable fighter jet complex in the entire Asian continent.

For now the Rafale was sold in Egypt with a French system, but Qatar has chosen the Lockheed Martin Sniper pod.

With regard to air-ground armament, India could choose Safran's A2SM (Modular Air Ground Armament). But Israel has also proposed their armaments such as Rafael's Spice bombs. The Rafale can also carry American GBU guided bomb kits.

The Rafale is offered to the Indian Navy as part of a program to acquire 57 on-board fighters. In this case the device could be equipped with the formidable and very successful AM39 Exocet missiles.

IDN at Aero India 2019

Dhanush Artillery Gun To Be Made In Medak

Hyderabad: It’s going to be a boom time for the Ordnance Factory in Telangana’s Yeddumailaram in Medak district. In what could be giving thrust to the Make in India initiative, the factory will manufacture 114 ‘Dhanush’ artillery guns for the Army. The factory, located 50 km from here, recently received a bulk order from the Indian Army and the ministry of defence (MoD) for producing the first-ever indigenous artillery gun, Dhanush, at its unit. 

The long range artillery gun, which is equipped with navigation-based sighting system and onboard ballistic computation, has the added advantage of day and night direct firing system. “The artillery gun has been mechanically upgraded to fire the NATO-standard 155 mm ammunition. The guns are all-terrain worthy, including deserts and high altitudes, and can clock a speed of 1,600 km,” a senior defence official told TOI.

An extensive experiment was carried out by the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) before they were inducted, he said. “The weapon has also been electronically upgraded to enhance its firing accuracy. It has compatibility with various types of ammo and the performance of the gun has been evaluated under arduous conditions in several phases,” he explained.

Another advantage is that self-propulsion allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease. “The gun can also accommodate bi-modular charge system (BMCS), which has resulted in increasing the gun’s range,” a senior official said. BMCS is advantageous over conventional cloth bag charges because of its simpler operation and reduced logistics during storage and transportation in a war scenario.

Sources said OFB had already received key documents regarding transfer of technology for manufacturing the 155 mm modern artillery gun. In fact, the Army had changed its vision parameters from 155 X 39 calibre to 155 X 45 calibre. Dhanush is a product of OFB, Army with contributions from DRDO, Directorate General Quality Assurance, Bharat Electronics Limited, Steel Authority of India Ltd and several private enterprises.

Indian Companies Outshine Foreign Vendors At Aero India

Several announcements made at Aero India are related to Indian private sector companies bagging international orders. The biggest ‘Make in India’ contract it is pursuing – to produce 56 aircraft in partnership with Airbus to replace the Avro transport fleet – has not progressed into an order yet, despite a four year wait

by Manu Pubby

Indian companies are outshining foreign vendors at India’s biggest air show with a slew of announcements and large display areas, but when it comes to big domestic orders, the wait seems to be getting longer.

While the government’s showcase ‘Strategic Partnership’ model is limping along – the selection process of only one of the four programmes kicked off last month when tenders were sent for the Naval Utility Helicopter requirement – Indian companies have been working mostly on export orders that have been trickling in.

Several announcements made at Aero India are related to Indian private sector companies bagging international orders – Dynamatic delivered parts for the Airbus 330 while Axiscades declared that it will be supplying full flight simulators to a Slovakian entity – the order book of large players remains dismal.

The Adani Group – the latest big company to enter the defence and aerospace sector – is showcasing its Hermes 900 UAV at the show, which is on till Sunday. The plane is being made at its Hyderabad facility but the customer is the Israeli armed forces and an undisclosed Southeast Asian country.

The large order it will pursue, however, is for more than 150 drones required by the Indian armed forces. But despite the requirement being discussed in a request for information in 2017, the selection process has not even started.

Similarly, TATA Aerospace and Defence has one of the largest stalls at the show – that displays the parts it makes for the Pilatus PC 12 plane as well as the cabin for the Sikorsky S-92 chopper.

But these systems too are only for export orders. The biggest ‘Make in India’ contract it is pursuing – to produce 56 aircraft in partnership with Airbus to replace the Avro transport fleet – has not progressed into an order yet, despite a four year wait.

The lack of progress in big Make in India projects has been a major pain point for the private sector which sees public sector units still getting the lion’s share on a non-competitive basis.

Aero India 2019: Boeing Says Tech Transfer In India Aircraft Deal Is U.S. Administration’s Call

by Nishant Sharma

BANGALORE: Boeing Co. said it will build a new factory in the country to make its F/A-18 Super Hornet if it gets the $20-billion fighter jet deal but technology transfer will depend on the decision of the U.S. administration.

“We want to bring the factory to India that will produce one of the most advanced fighter jets for the Indian Air Force,” Thomas Breckenridge, vice president, international sales, strike, surveillance and mobility at Boeing Defence, Space and Security in India, said on the sidelines Aero India 2019. It has partnered with the Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. as part of the strategic partner program.

But full technology transfer as part of the deal will be the decision of the U.S. government.

Boeing is one of the seven players that vie for the 114-fighter jet programme along with Saab’s Gripen E, Lockheed Martin’s newly F-21, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Airbus’s Eurofighter.

What gives Boeing’s jet an edge over competitors? Breckenridge said it is the pricing and also parallel infrastructure Boeing has set up in the country. “We have been present in India for seven decades and have invested significant amount of resources already.”

Breckenridge said Boeing is also comfortable with conditions in India’s ongoing bidding programme for medium multi-role fighter jet, especially the one that disallows foreign players to have a majority stake in the strategic partnership programme. “We are comfortable with the nature of rules here.”

Its competitor SAAB, however, told on Thursday that it would want majority control in the deal as the firm will be liable for the quality and reliability of the jets.

HAL Capable of Manufacturing Our Defence Systems: Boeing

Boeing signed a partnership in April-18 with HAL and private sector major Mahindra Defence for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornets in India

Boeing, the US-headquartered aerospace multinational corporation, said the company is confident in the capabilities of HAL to produce its all aerospace and defence platforms.

The comment assumes significance in the backdrop of the recent controversy where the PSU's capability was questioned.

Speaking to DH, Thomas Breckenridge, vice-president of international sales, strike, surveillance and mobility said HAL is the only public sector manufacturing partner for the company in India. 

"HAL has the capability to manufacture all Boeing Defence platforms. We have been associated with HAL for the past few years and it is not a new partnership. It will benefit both India and the US," he said.

The company signed a partnership in April last year with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India. The partnership envisions to develop an aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation, engineering and job creation in the country.

He also said that the company will deliver the first of 22 AH-64E Apache twin-turboshaft attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in July. India has also placed an order for 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing.

When asked about the F-18, he said the company is confident enough to compete in the fighter jet market. "We are ready to compete in this space as India is actively looking to phase out its fighter aircraft fleet in the next decade," he said. 

According to a defence analyst, about a third of India’s 650-strong fleet is more than 40 years old and set to be phased soon. "Indian Air Force requires at least 45 squadrons to repel a joint attack from Pakistan and China. But the country currently has an active strength of about 25 squadrons," said the defence analyst. 

On tech transfer, the Boeing official said the company can't reveal much at this point of time. "Other than HAL we have Mahindra Aerospace as our partner in India. The technology transfer is an issue which is handled by the US government," he said.

He said the company is actively engaged with startups in India and last year the company selected three Indian startups for the Boeing innovation challenge. "We have invested in small enterprise software companies in India. Also, the country is an important innovation centre for the company along with France," he said. 

Specifically, with the F-18, there is an opportunity on open architecture and integration of Indian systems. "Yes, there are approvals required. There are political discussions going on between the two countries and we are looking at what software code can be added to the program," he said.

The company also stated that last year it did a business of $1 billion on products and services from India. Of these, two-thirds came from manufacturing and the rest from services. Boeing has over 160 suppliers in India.