French firms focus on India

March 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM
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NEW DELHI, March 30 (UPI) -- India's defense and aerospace needs and manufacturing capabilities are attracting the interest of European companies seeking to plumb its potential.

Naval defense company DCNS of France, munitions-maker Nexter and Eurocopter this week have all touted operations and deals with India worth millions.

DCNS announced that through its subsidiary, DCNS India, it has signed an agreement with India's SEC Industries to locally manufacture equipment for the Indian Navy's P75 Scorpene submarines.

The deal, worth about $66.5 million, is for hull hatches, cofferdam doors, knuckle hoses, ballast vent valves, high-pressure air cylinders, weapon handling and storage systems. SEC will manufacture the equipment under a transfer-of-technology accord. Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited will then integrate the equipment onboard the P75 Scorpene submarines.

"The contract with SEC is part of the indigenization program implemented by DCNS India under the P75 Mazagon Purchased Materials contracts," said Bernard Buisson, managing director of DCNS India. "Through this will to manufacture in India, we are developing strong industrial partnerships and capabilities for the P75 and future programs.

"Together with our partners, we are positioning ourselves for the long term."

DCNS said the company's strict quality standards would be followed in local manufacturing and that DCNS India, with support teams in France, is providing training for SEC employees -- more than 40 SEC personnel will be trained this year and next, and on-the-job training will also be performed in India over the next five years.

"Through this contract, our company will gain in technology terms, infrastructure and trained manpower," D. Vidyasagar, managing director of SEC Industries said.

"SEC Industries is upgrading its capabilities: set-up of a new workshop dedicated to this program, acquisition of new industrials means for sanding, welding and painting and recruitment of skilled manpower; technicians and engineers."

In the aerospace sector, Eurocopter this week touted its product line as part of its marketing effort at Defexpo 2012 exposition in New Delhi.

Scale models of its AS550 C3 Fennec, AS565 MBe Naval Panther and EC725 rotorcraft -- all of which have been proposed for Indian military program -- were put on display.

"As India looks to upgrade its military rotorcraft fleets, Eurocopter is the one manufacturer with the product range and depth to meet the full scope of operational needs for the country's army, navy and coast guard," said Eurocopter Senior Executive Vice President of Asia-Pacific Norbert Ducrot.

"Additionally, Eurocopter is the first major manufacturer to establish an Indian subsidiary, reinforcing its support and services network throughout the country and further developing the company's relationship with India and its industry."

Eurocopter's subsidiary in India, established in 2010, has maintenance centers throughout the country and help in "expanding the world's largest helicopter manufacturer's commercial presence in this highly promising marketplace, reinforcing its support and services network throughout the country and further developing the company's four-decade relationship with Indian industry," the company said.

Eurocopter is the only foreign helicopter manufacturer in the world to have created a fully fledged subsidiary in the country.

Nexter Systems of France, which supplies the Indian armed forces with artillery systems and artillery rounds, meanwhile, announced it is opening a wholly owned subsidiary in the country this year "due to the importance of Indian artillery and other programs and the willingness of Nexter Systems to become a leading partner of the Indian defense Industry."

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