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'Indian defence sector going to be big market'

Boeing at Defexpo 2012. A Brahmand photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Observing that the Indian defence sector is going to be a big market in the long term, the US on Thursday asked the American companies participating in the Defexpo to know and understand the procedures here for future business.

More than 20 US companies including some of the big names like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are participating in the seventh edition of Defexpo.

Inaugurating the US pavilion at the exhibition, US Embassy Charge d' Affaires Ambassador Peter Burleigh said, "The market here is definitely going to be a big market.

"Certainly in the long term, probably in the mid-term and for the short term, it is important to be here on the ground to make the connection, networks and know the procedures."

Maintaining that the Indian acquisition and procurement procedure is very different from what the American companies are used to, he asked the participants to be patient and understand the local culture and systems.

Highlighting that Indian defence sector is "essentially a guaranteed market", Burleigh said some of the American companies have been here for a long time and they have conducted successful businesses also.

Meanwhile, Boeing during a press conference, organised to share details of progress made in supplying C-17 strategic lift transport aircraft to Indian Air Force, said that plane would be delivered to India in June 2013.

"The Letter of Agreement (LoA) with Indian government was signed in June 2011 and the manufacturing began in January this year. Its first flight will take place in January next year and the certification is due in May 2013. In June next year, it will be ready for delivery," said Partic Druez, Business Development head of the Boeing.

Druez said that the aircraft is being flown by 19 countries and is capable of carrying large payload and can be operated from short runways and withstand variations in weather as well.

Denying that Boeing is conducting talks for any follow-on orders of the aircraft, he said, "The training of the aircrew will start 10 months ahead of the delivery - may be in May or June."

On development of infrastructure, he said, "It is part of the LoA and we are in the process of building the required infrastructure."

On delivery of P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft to the Indian Navy, Boeing said the final assembly of the aircraft will begin in the second quarter of 2012 with the flight test due for later this year.


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