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Sikorsky aims 30 pc mkt share in chopper sales in India

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The S-92 helicopter. A Sikorsky photo

MUMBAI (PTI): The world's largest chopper-maker Sikorsky Aircraft, which has a joint venture with Indian firm Tata for assembling helicopter cabins, is targeting to corner up to 30 per cent market share in India over the next five years.

"We expect to corner around 25-30 per cent of the growth (in new choppers sales over next five years)," Sikorsky Aircraft Corp executive vice-president for India and South Asia Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Arvind Walia told PTI.

He said there are 300 choppers in the country currently, which is expected to go up by 250-300 units over the next five years.

The 100 per cent growth in commercial choppers will be fuelled by demand from areas such as corporate and VVIP travel, medical emergency evacuation, disaster management, law enforcement and tourism, Walia said.

Keeping the target in mind, the company also plans to double capacity to two cabins a month from June and three from next year onwards, he said.

"We have requested the Tatas to ramp up the capacity to deliver two cabins a month from June this year and to further scale it up and give us three cabins from 2013," he added.

Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) had in 2009 formed a joint venture with Sikorsky to manufacture helicopter cabins at their Hyderabad facility.

Both the companies had also signed an agreement to form a joint venture to manufacture aerospace components for Sikorsky, including cabin components for its S-92 series of choppers.

The joint venture facility is already churning out 4,000 parts with high local content, Walia said, adding, "these cabins have now 80 per cent localisation and over time it will go up further."

Sikorsky has so far delivered six S76 helicopters in the country -- all of them to Mumbai-based customers, Walia said, adding that orders for more than five choppers are being negotiated at present.

It is also in discussion with the Maharashtra government, which has already acquired one S76 helicopter for VVIP travel, to supply one more for use by Mumbai Police.

"We are also in talks with other customers, including some states and corporates to sell our S76s. We should be able to deliver at least two more choppers this year," he said.

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