Diehl Seeks Indian Partner To Seal Missile Deal
By PIERRE TRAN
Published: 13-15 Feb 2009
04:01 EST (08:01 GMT)
BANGALORE, India - Diehl, maker of the Iris-T air-to-air guided missile, is in talks with Bharat Electronics Ltd., Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and other Indian companies in its search for a local partner to develop military and civil activities, Rainer Ott, a member of the executive board of the Diehl group, said Feb. 13 at the Aero India show.
"We are looking for a reliable partner," Ott said. "We want to expand our footprint."
Diehl's search for an Indian business partner follows a well-beaten path by other foreign companies, all seeking a local alliance to boost their chances of winning future sales.
An entry by the family-owned German company into the Indian missile market would usher in a new European presence as MBDA has had a longstanding relationship with Bharat Dynamics Ltd. BDL has made the Milan anti-tank weapon under license since the 1970s and recently signed a new production agreement.
Diehl's hopes to secure a larger part of the India military market hang on the tender for 126 warplanes in the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft program, Ott said on the sidelines of a press conference.
Diehl won a contract early last year to provide tracks for the Indian Army's Arjun battle tank.
The Iris-T is the main short range weapon for the Eurofighter Typhoon, and is also certified on the Gripen, F-16 and the F/A-18, all contenders for the Indian competition, reported to be worth $10 billion-$12 billion.
"India is a potential new market," Ott said.
Diehl has so far delivered 1,000 Iris-T missiles in a first batch to the German Air Force, which has three Eurofighter Typhoons at the airshow, including one which flies in the aerial display. The company expects further German orders for the infrared missile, which has been bought by seven countries.
Beyond any sale of missiles to the Indian Air Force, Diehl sees longer term revenue in maintenance and service over the life of the equipment. This is where a local partner would come in. Diehl sold Sidewinder missiles around 50 years ago and serviced the kit and is now taking them back to retire them from service.
In addition to defense, Diehl's discussions with local companies include plans for setting up a customer support business in avionics and cabin interiors for commercial aviation. A local alliance would not simply be an outsourcing deal but a means to win new Indian programs.
In Europe, Diehl expects to deliver this summer the first units to the German Army of its high power microwave system for anti-IED protection, for deployment in Afghanistan.
The company spent around 10 million euros of company funds to develop the vehicle protection system. "Various countries are interested" in the microwave equipment, which can be mounted on a number of vehicle types, Ott said. Full scale production is due to start in 2010.
Diehl Seeks Indian Partner To Seal Missile Deal - Aero India - 2009
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