Fighter Jets to be part of Make in India programme : Parrikar
However, the Minister chose to stay neutral about the possible options as he was sharing the dais with a senior Boeing official, who incidentally referred to the future opportunities including the supply of F/A 18 Super Hornets in India.
The minister was speaking at an event marking the ground-breaking of Tata and Boeing’s joint venture facility being set up in Hyderabad to co-produce Boeing AH-64 Apache combat helicopter fuselages globally.
“We are in the process of putting up 2-3 different projects in Make In India (programme), which will require environment creation and skilled manpower…I expect in the current financial year we should deliver a lot of such decisions of the government that we can see really ‘ Make In India’ happening in large scale by the end of 2016-17,” Minister Parrikar said.
The Minister said that he was not committing any thing for F-18s, as the recent media reports said that the Government was keen to consider the Boeing’s offer to supply F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The company has offered F/A-18 Super Hornets under the Make in India framework.
India had considered F-18 Super Hornet during the earlier hunt for 126 medium multi-role fighter jets. However, the US bid lost out to the French Rafale.
“Let me put this disclaimer because Indian media is very imaginative and these two initiatives should not be linked. However, the disclaimer doesn’t mean that your are out of it,” Parrikar told Dave Koopersmith, Boeing vice president, vertical Lift, and board member of Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) on a lighter note.
Parrikar said the Tata-Boeing joint venture was not just a big as well as a good FDI but would also generate substantial number of well trained skilled manpower jobs in the aerospace sector.
The Defence Minister also complimented Boeing for keeping its word in this regard :”Boeing kept their word, the promise which was given to me after we concluded Apache and Chinook deals that this particular facility will be located in India and to be shifted from a place where they head a facility. And I always keep in mind that those who remember what they say at the time of celebration and complete them afterwards are the people to be noted for future reference.”
The minister emphasised on the hands-on approach by the government and said they would try and speed up the process of defence procurement as he expects to see a lot of indegenisation happening in Make In India in coming months.
“Defence procurement is an item which should required to be insured for the risk. To place orders itself takes hell of a time with every Tom, Dick and Harry, who doesn’t understand anything about the actual product, sits in the department and ask all kinds of questions,” he said while criticising the bureaucratic methods followed in the procurement process.
Being set up by the Tata Advanced Systems and Boeing, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of military aircraft, this Hyderabad production facility will eventually be the sole producer of AH-64 fuselages globally, according to the company officials.
In November, 2015, Boeing and Tata announced a joint venture for manufacturing and collaboration of integrated systems development opportunities in India.
Boeing and Tata group companies have established partnerships in India to manufacture aerostructures for Boeing’s commercial and military aircraft.
Tata Advanced Materials has delivered composite panels for the power and mission equipment cabinets and auxiliary power unit door fairings for the P-81 long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. TAL Manufacturing Solutions is manufacturing complex floor beams out of campsite materials for the Boeing 787-9, the most modern aircraft besides providing ground support equipment for the C-17 Globemaster- 3 strategic airlifter.