Foreign defence manufacturing companies are betting big on innovative products and strategic partnerships as they gear up for the DefExpo 2018, slated to be held from April 11 to 14 in Chennai. Major international firms including Lockheed Martin, Boeing (US), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rosoboronexport, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany) are among the firms that have lined up for the expo. As many as 671 exhibitors have confirmed their space booking in DefExpo as on March 30, 2018, which include 517 Indian and 154 international exhibitors. Jan Widerstrom, chairman and managing director, Saab India Technologies, said: “As a global, independent, defence and security company, we bring ready-for-tomorrow defence and security solutions that are always customised for the needs of India’s armed forces. Every day we reaffirm our commitment to long-term engagement with India through collaborations and true transfer of technology.” Paul Smith, chief procurement officer, BAE Systems, said in a statement: “Our success as a company is evidenced in our partnerships with the finest suppliers in the world. Developing an in-country supply chain is key to our commitment to Make in India and we have a strong interest in supporting the vibrant SME sector in India via both local and international opportunities.Together with our supply chain partners, we will continue to deliver technologically advanced products and services that give the forces in India and around the world, an operational advantage.”
According to Airbus India president and MD Pierre de Bausset, “With our focus on ‘Make in India’ we plan to develop a self-sustainable defence industrial ecosystem that will cater to the needs of India and, eventually, the armed forces around the world.” French multinational Thales is highlighting its flagship PHAROS fire-control radar that is jointly developed with its JV company BEL-Thales Systems. “We are proud of our various solutions on which the Indian armed forces rely, and of our collaborations built with the local industry over the years,” said Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, VP & country director, Thales, in India. Naval Group will showcase successful efforts in building industrial partnerships with Indian shipyards and industry. Alain Guillou, executive VP, Naval Group, said: “Our knowhow is the result of our large investment in research & development (10% of annual revenues).” Honeywell sees great demand for its technology on the country’s new aircraft platforms, as well as for retrofit modifications and upgrades with its existing military fleets. MBDA, the European group jointly owned by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo, said that it will be the first time that L&T MBDA Missile Systems, the JV formed with Larsen and Toubro in 2017, will be exhibiting its products.