With India's defence market thrown open to private players, TATA Advanced Systems (TASL), the leading aerostructures and defence systems contractor, seeks to leverage its experience of working with top international OEMs

India’s defence ministry is expected to issue an expression of interest over the next several months, followed by a request for proposals in a long, drawn out process for the air force contract.

Lockheed Martin has offered to shift its F-16 production line from the United States to India, potentially the biggest boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make-in-India project to create a defence industrial base and generate jobs for the thousands of youth entering the workforce each month.

Lockheed Martin sees a potential export market of more than $20 billion for its F-16 fighter aircraft from an assembly line in India it has offered to set up in order to win a large Indian military order, a top executive said. The U.S. defence firm is competing with Boeing’s F/A-18, SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a Russian aircraft to supply the Indian air force with 114 combat planes in a deal estimated to be worth more than $15 billion.

Lockheed has picked TATA Advanced Systems as its Indian partner for the proposed F-16 plant and last year it announced that their joint venture will produce wings for the aircraft in India, regardless of whether it wins the Indian military order.

TASL's State-of-The-Art Ventures

Sikorsky S-92 Facility

A Japanese firm had been supplying the fuselage since 1992, but Sikorsky decided to relocate the facility to India. TASL set up a greenfield project in Hyderabad, which was ready for production in 2012, about a year from the start date. TASL built world-class capabilities. Today, it is the global single source for assembly of helicopter fuselage for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and have delivered more than 100 cabins.

AH-64 Apache Gunship Facility

TATA Boeing Aerospace, a joint venture between Boeing and TASL, in March 2018 inaugurated its state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad. Spread over 14,000-square meters and employing 350 highly skilled workers, the facility will be the sole global producer of fuselages for AH-64 Apache helicopter delivered by Boeing to its global customers including the U.S. Army. The facility will also produce secondary structures and vertical spar boxes of this multi-role combat helicopter. The delivery of the first fuselage is expected in 2018. Boeing is expanding its engagement with India’s Ministry of Defence to deliver advanced capabilities and readiness to the Indian military.

Pilatus Trainer Venture

In August, TASL signed an agreement with Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland for the manufacture and supply of its PC-12 ‘green aircraft’ aerostructures for export from its Hyderabad facility. 

Other Major Ventures

  • TASL also won contracts from RUAG Aviation for the manufacture and assembly of the fuselage and wing of its Dornier 228-212 NG
  • TASL in a joint venture with UK-based Cobham manufactures mission equipment for air-to-air refuelling pods
  • TASL is the global single source designated for assembly of empennage (tail assembly) for Lockheed’s C130 J Aircraft and assembly of centre wing box structures
  • For DRDO's medium-range surface-to-air missile program (MRSAM) contract, it won for the crucial command and control system, which is the decision-making system
  • TASL has a facility in Noida for the assembly of third-generation, image intensifier based night vision devices (NVD) in partnership with ITT Exelis, the largest NVD manufacturer in the US

Within a short span of five years, TASL has become a significant player in the global aerospace market, making Hyderabad a premier manufacturing destination for global OEMs. It has developed capabilities through the entire aerospace value chain from design to full aircraft assembly.

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