January 11, 2012:
||William L. Blair
President, Raytheon India
Eyeing for a greater pie of the growing Indian defence market, the US defence company Raytheon is in talks with many Indian public and private sector companies for possible partnerships in its various programmes—missiles, network-centric systems, solutions for homeland and cyber security, coastal surveillance, etc.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Army Day, the company officials briefed the media about the different programmes they have on offer for the Indian Army. The company is trying to broaden its footprint in India with the sale of its Air-to-Air Stringer, Javelin, Excalibur, Talon laser guided rocket, Serpent, etc, as well as its tactical radios for Indian defence forces.
Raytheon’s air-to-air version of its famous Stinger missile is a part of the weapons package with the AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow proposed for the 22 attack helicopter deal of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The officials though optimistic about partnerships with Indian private sector for homeland and cyber security solutions, denied reports of Raytheon’s much talked about partnership with Reliance and termed it as a ‘rumour’.
On being asked by Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Land Forces, to elaborate on possible Indian partnerships in India and the potential private industry partners, the officials said, “Raytheon is looking at SMEs, DPSUs and big private sector companies as well. The Indian private sector’s role in the civil domain is world class but the tricky thing is to bring them into the defence sector. We need to fill in the gaps.” The company has already tied up with Precision Electronics to jointly develop communication technologies for military and civil use.
William L. Blair, President, Raytheon India, informed that the company has developed a vehicle-launched version of the Javelin anti-tank guided missile and is in talks with Tata Motors for developing it to meet the Indian requirements. It may be mentioned that India is planning to develop a futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) for the requirements of the Army and paramilitary personnel and Tata Motors is expected to be one of the contenders for the contract.
Brad Barnard, Senior Manager, International Business and Strategy for Raytheon Missiles System (RMS) informed that the Raytheon’s Serpent missile which is ideal for India’s military and paramilitary requirements, will be demonstrated at Defexpo 2012. He further informed that the RMS has responded to a request for information (RFI) for 120mm mortar terminally guided munitions and is looking for a potential partner in India.
Replying to another query by Mr Baranwal on Raytheon’s strength over its European competitors in the Indian Army’s battlefield management system (BMS), the officials said that situational awareness is a crucial factor. “Our potential digital radio capability without GPS suits well with BMS. Lack of dependency on infrastructure and greater situational awareness gives us an edge over our competitors.”
With regard to the US Government’s limitations on transfer of certain technologies to India, the company said that the company has had many successful transfer of technology (ToT) programmes across the globe under the US guidelines, and is optimistic about India as well. “In India, we need to prove by winning over some key programmes, getting licenses and working in partnership with Indian companies. We know we need to indigenise, but we will do that with the support of the US Government.”
The company is also in talks with Indian companies for possible partnership for Excalibur, a precision-guided, long-range artillery projectile. “We have identified the core capability in India and we hope to finalise the partnership soon,” said Barnard.