Thales Sets Sights On Tech Transfer, Outsourcing & JV

New Delhi | Updated: Mar 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Last year, Paris-based defence company Thales celebrated its 50th anniversary of partnership with the Indian industry. According to company officials, the groups objective and strategy in India is all about reinforcing partnership with Indian industries through transfer of technology, outsourcing and joint ventures.

In India, Thales is a major avionics supplier to Air India and Indian Airlines for their Airbus fleets. Pawan Hans, the largest Indian operator of Dauphin helicopters, also represents a major customer for Thales.

Thales claims to have the largest installed base of Air Traffic Management (ATM) equipment in the world. In India, Thales also sold ATM solutions to the Airports Authority of India. Thales has supplied an Airbus A300 simulator to flag carrier domestic Indian Airlines. Together with the Macmet company, Thales has been awarded a contract related to Jaguar and Cheetak simulator, company officials said.

Thales has been present in India since 1953 and has now become a significant supplier to the three Indian Armed Forces.

The company has been working in close cooperation with the Indian Air Force for several years now, and has supplied numerous ground-based air defence radar, as well as avionics packages for the MIG 21, MIG 27 and Jaguar upgrade programmes.

It is also the supplier of radar, avionics, optronics, communications, electronic warfare and simulators for the IAF Mirage 2000, as well as Su-30 and HJT 36 aircraft.

It has supplied cutting-edge key optronic systems to the Indian Army. These contracts include Catherine thermal cameras for the T90 tank programme, as well as Sophie cameras for the infantry. A large COMINT system has also been delivered.

The Indian Navy is fitted with Thales shipborne and heliborne sonar, shipborne surveillance radar, simulators and ESM equipment through Bharat Electronics. The company has full capacity for system integration and prime contractorship for large projects.

In addition to the various co-operative agreements with the public sector entities like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Ltd, and Electronics Company India Ltd, the strong Indo-French political relationship strengthens Thales presence in India. This is fully in line with Thales multi-domestic strategy, which consists of having centres of excellence in all the countries where the Group is established, and maintaining a strong local identity in each, officials explained.

In 2001, Thales was awarded a contract for the supply of the ticketing and passenger control system by the New Delhi Metro Corporation. The system allows use of contactless smart cards and recyclable travel tokens (also based on contactless technology). The token-collecting device, developed and patented by Thales, eliminates the need for magnetic stripe technology, they said.

The global solution could evolve into future applications for the metro as well as buses and car parks. The French company has also supplied ticketing systems to the Calcutta Metro Authority.

Thales offers a wide and unique product line such as radio, TV and wireless systems, broadcast antennas systems and MPEG-2 digital video processing and multimedia distribution systems.

Thales is the main supplier in India of broadcasting high power Radio and TV transmitters to All India Radio and Doordarshan. In addition, it offers microwave components to the defence, space and radiology markets. Recently, it bagged a major contract from the ministry of communications for a nation-wide frequency monitoring and management system.