Thales-Samtel JV to make global products in avionicsNovember 25th, 2008 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) French defence and aerospace major Thales says its joint venture with city-based electronic giant Samtel will enable India become part of the global supply chain for civil and military avionics.”We will design and manufacture global products to make the joint venture a part of the global supply chain,” Pierre-Eric Pommellet, senior vice-president of Thales’ aerospace division, told IANS here.
“We are here to be an Indian company to develop global products. We develop in the countries we operate in,” he maintained of the new venture Samtel Thales Avionics.
Samtel and Thales hold 74:26 in the joint venture that was announced in May with a capital of $12.5 million with more investments to be pumped in as the joint development efforts progress.
“Samtel is a very good partner. It is all a question of confidence and we have the confidence that we are in for long-term relationship,” Pommellet mainatained.
“What we are looking at is the next 50 years - manufacturing for 20 years and product support for 30 years. So, you can see we are in it for the long haul,” the official added.
Pommellet is here with Thales senior vice-president and aerospace division head Francois Quentin for talks with Sametel officials on the manner in which the joint venture is playing out.
Pommellet also pointed to its experience with Germany’s Diehl Aerospace to explain how successful such joint ventures can be. “When we started out, our annual revenues were 50 million euros. Within 10 years, this had risen to 600 million euros. So, you can see how much scope there is,” he contended.
The JV will initially focus on CRT (cathode ray tubes) for the spectrum of Airbus civil and military aircraft, as also on helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) and multi-functional displays (MFDs) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Samtel director Puneet Kaura was confident the JV would deliver what was expected of it.
“We are in the process of starting pre-production and should begin production in the next quarter (Jan-March, 2009),” he said.
“We will also move from manufacturing displays to avionics systems that are much more complicated as this involves working with an integrated avionics architecture,” Kaura said.
Samtel and Thales are also working closely for the supply of advanced helmets to the Indian Navy for the MiG 29K combat aircraft that will be deployed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov that has been purchased from Russia and which is likely to be inducted as the INS Vikramaditya in 2012.
Samtel is also working in close association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for developing an LCD-based head-down display for the IAF’s frontline Sukhoi SU-30 combat jets.
This apart, Samtel has a joint venture with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for developing avionics for the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) and the intermediate jet trainer (IJT).
According to Kaura, the Samtel-Thales joint venture has submitted a proposal to the defence ministry for fulfilling its 30 percent offsets or reinvestment obligations in its bid to update the avionics systems of the IAF’s 51-strong fleet of Mirage-2000 bombers.
“We are very easy with our offsets obligations,” Pommellet pointed out.
Speaking about the upgrades, Quentin has said this would enable the IAF address the alarming dip in its operational capabilities, even as it evaluates a global tender it has floated for purchasing 126 new combat aircraft.
“The upgrade will significantly enhance the IAF’s air potential by extending the operational performance of the Mirage fleet and taking full advantage of the aircraft’s world class capabilities,” Quentin had told IANS in Paris earlier this month during a visit there by a group of Indian journalists.
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