Airbus Helicopters, a part of the Airbus Group of Europe is keen to form an alliance with Indian majors to cater to the demands of orders from both army and navy.
In view of upcoming orders from the army and navy, several Indian firms and public sector companies are said to have been contacted by Airbus Helicopters to form a partnership to manufacture reconnaissance, surveillance and naval utility helicopters. Among private companies, Airbus Helicopters is in talks with Tata Group, Reliance Industries and Mahindra and Mahindra, while alliance with public sector undertakings such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has also been sought.
Talks are still in initial stages of development as has been confirmed by Rainer Farid, Vice President, Sales and Customer Relations at Airbus Helicopters in India at the Aero India air show in Bangalore on Friday. This joint venture is in view of upcoming orders from army which includes over 300 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters while the navy wishes to procure 100 utility helicopters. While the armed forces still depend on the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, Airbus Helicopters has offered to build light utility AS550 Fennec and medium lift EC725 for the armed forces.
The bid to form a joint venture with Indian companies is in view of the RFI which requires foreign companies to form an alliance with Indian counterparts. Airbus Helicopters is keen to set up manufacturing with Indian companies and is optimistic of finalizing partnership deals by the end of this year. While initially the aim is to cater to the demands of the armed forces, meeting the requirements of the civilian market is also being mulled.