The Boeing Company, state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limted (HAL) and Mahindra Group arm Mahindra Defence Systems Limited (MDS), on Thursday, announced a three-way partnership to manufacture Boeing's F/A-i8 Super Hornet multi-role fighter jet in India. The firms made the announcement in Chennai, at the ongoing DefExpo 2018 weapons exhibition.
"Boeing is excited to team up with India's only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and India's only company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra," said Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India.
"This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India," Kumar added, IANS reported.
Boeing already sources components for the Super Hornet from HAL -- the two firms have an over 20-year old working relationship. Thursday's announcement will see the American firm leverage HAL’s assets, including a manufacturing base and an airfield in Bengaluru, and HAL's experience in licence-producing fighter jets in the subcontinent, to slash the cost of each Hornet it sells to India.
Boeing is looking to sell Hornets to the Indian Navy and has initiated talks with the latter, the company's vice president for defense, space and security, Gene Cunningham, told Bloomberg in February.
In December 2017, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that a request for proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 57 multi-role combat jets for the Indian Navy's aircraft carriers would be issued by mid-2018, the PTI reported.
Boeing and HAL first held exploratory talks, on building the Hornet in India in September 2017, according to a report in the Business Standard.
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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2018 20:41:55 IST