EADS plans R&D centre in Bangalore

EADS pavilion at Defexpo 2010.

NEW DELHI (PTI): European military consortium EADS Defence and Security today said it will open a research and development centre in Bangalore within two years that will provide employment to 200 Indian engineers.

The R&D centre would come up irrespective of the result of EADS' bids for the USD 10 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tenders, EADS Defence and Security Chief Executive Officer (Military Air Systems) Bernhard Gerwert told PTI at the DefExpo here.

"EADS looks at India not in short term goals. We already have a EADS Airbus Engineering Centre at Bangalore.

The target is to shift some of our R&D units from Europe to Bangalore and set up a new R&D centre here to employ up to 200 engineers," Gerwert said.

The MMRCA deal entails that the successful bidder should plough back 50 per cent of the contract amount back into India under the offsets clause.

EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon, a swing-role combat jet produced by Germany, Italy, Britain and Spanish companies, is competing in the bid and is scheduled to go in for flight trials in Bangalore beginning next week.

The fighter jet, which is already in service with British, Spanish, Italian, German, Austrian and Saudi Arabian air force, would undergo weapons trials in Germany and Britain later this year.

Asked if EADS had made any progress in identifying offsets partners from India, Gerwert said his company had already held talks with domestic industries and signed some MoUs with them.

"We would soon finalise some joint ventures. But more than the offsets, EADS is interested in industrialisation of Indian defence. There is engineering capability for defence in India. That is how we see this partnership with India, not in terms of offsets, but in terms of helping domestic industries to gain capabilities," he said.

The CEO said in case, Eurofighter Typhoon was selected by the IAF for the MMRCA deal, the Indian industry should have the capability to absorb the technology that EADS would provide along with the aircraft.

"That's why we intend to start this R&D centre. But it is independent of the deal itself. The idea is capability building," he said.

To a query on technology transfer and if the governments of countries participating in the consortium would be willing to issue licence for the purpose, Gerwert said when they had made the bids for the MMRCA, they had clearly mentioned about the transfer of technology and they had no problem with it then.

"The licence is yet to come. But I am sure there is no problem for any of the four governments," he stressed.

On the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that India was looking for its MMRCA, Gerwert said they had already informed the IAF that they did not possess it but another consortium, Euroradar, was developing it which would be provided by 2015.

EADS is participating in the IAF's 126 fighter jets competition.

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