India has largest presence at Berlin air show

May 27th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of ISRO
By Neelam Mathews
Berlin, May 27 (IANS) India has its biggest presence at the International Aerospace Exhibition and Conference-ILA 2008, also known as Berlin Air Show - where it is participating as a partner country for the first time to showcase the products of 20 public and private sector entities. During the show, which began Tuesday, Indian Defence Minister A.K Antony, who is leading a large delegation of civil and military officials, will be holding talks with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung as a follow up to the bilateral defence cooperation the two countries signed September 2006.

Speaking at a reception hosted by India here Tuesday, Antony reassured his counterparts that the cooperation agreement would lay down the roadmap for the future, with ILA providing a platform for business alliances.

Among the Indian entities participating are Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML), Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (MIDHANI), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Tata group, Larsen & Toubro, CADES, ACCORD Software & Systems and Saraswati Dynamics.

All of them are aggressively looking at partners in anticipation of India’s large number of defence projects that will require offsets of 30-50 percent.

This year is significant due to India’s largest defence order for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force, the tenders for which were opened last month.

Six aircraft are in the fray, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Saab Gripen, the MiG-35, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Lockheed Martin F-16 and the Dassault Rafael. The over $12 billion contract requires 50 percent of the total value of the contract to be invested in India, which makes participating companies the darlings of the defence world.

At the Eurofighter production facility in Manching near Munich, Heinz Splogen, Deputy Project Pilot, Eurofighter, told IANS: “The machine has all aspects that define a fourth generation aircraft starting with a user-friendly cockpit, flight controls, and an agile aircraft design.”

European aerospace conglomerate EADS, of which Eurofighter is an arm, has already started outsourcing doors to HAL.

Bangalore-based Accord software that provides software for the Airbus A-380 expects many orders in the near future, a company official attending ILA said.

Government-owned BEML is also looking at providing design engineering services.

“We are ready to face competition from the private sector,” an ILA spokesman told IANS.

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