Boeing India, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Mahindra Defence Systems on Thursday entered into an agreement to manufacture fighter aircraft F/A-18 Super Hornet in the country. Boeing India, President, Pratyush Kumar, HAL Chairman and Managing Director, T Suvarna Raju and Mahindra Defence Systems, Chairman, S P Shukla exchanged a ‘Memorandum of Agreement for ‘Make in India fighter’ at the on-going ‘DefExpo’ near here.
Stating that the discussions on the tie-up have been going on for the last 18 months, Kumar said, “The intent of the government and the MoD (Ministry of Defence) for a strategic partnership is to produce ‘Make in India’ aircraft.” “We scanned across length and breadth of the country. We
discussed with over 400 suppliers,” Kumar told reporters.
“Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is the only company that manufactures combat fighters, while Mahindra Defence is the only company that manufactures small commercial planes. It is exciting for us,” he said. To a query, Kumar said a joint venture company would be floated over the next few months and added that investments under the agreement will be “huge.”
He, however, declined to share any figures on the investments to be made. On the agreement, Mahindra Defence Systems, Chairman, S P Shukla said, “This is a combination.. we have three companies that will bring their expertise, domain knowledge and flavour to the alliance.”
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Chairman and Managing Director, T Suvarna Raju said, under the agreement the existing facilities may be used for manufacturing the fighter aircraft or if required may set up a facility. The Super Hornet fighter aircraft does not only have a low acquisition cost, but it costs less per flight hour to operate than a tactical aircraft, a company statement said
The F/A-18 Super Hornet will outpace threats, bolster defence capabilities and make India stronger for decades to come, it said. The partnership would also bring Boeing, HAL and Mahindra Defence System global scale and supply chain, best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes as well as unrivaled experience in designing and optimising aerospace production, the release added.
The ‘DefExpo’ was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Thiruvidanthai, about 40kms from here today.