French defence company Thales and Reliance Defence Limited on Wednesday announced their intent to form an Indian joint venture (JV) with the proposed shareholding of 49% and 51% respectively. Leveraging Thales offset commitment as part of Dassault Aviation’s 36 Rafale fighter aircraft contract, the JV is to develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain Radar and Electronic Warfare sensors. “While the JV capital is under discussion, number of initiatives planned (trainings, development of human capital…) for the ramp-up of the JV capabilities and to identify/qualify the Indian Supply Chain,” reveal sources. The JV will develop skills and activity in the Special Economic Zone of Mihan-Nagpur together with an Indian supply chain for the manufacturing of microwave technologies and high performance airborne electronics. According to a company release, set up with a long term strategy to serve the Indian needs, this partnership between Thales and Reliance Defence Limited will strengthen the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Make in India’ vision.
Patrice Caine, chairman and CEO, Thales, said: “We are delighted to seal this strategic collaboration with Reliance Defence. This JV resonates with our strategy to strengthen our industrial footprint in the country by building collaborations with the Indian industry. It reaffirms our commitment to India, and our active contribution to Make in India”. Anil Ambani, chairman Reliance Group said: “The Strategic Partnership with Global leader Thales is another major milestone in our march towards best in the class manufacturing at support facilities for Military hardware in India. Reliance is committed to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives of the government and will continue to remain in the fore front, partnering with the best in the World.”
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According to sources, “The Special Economic Zone of Mihan-Nagpur has been chosen in line with our partner’s plans to develop the region into a greenfield aerospace hub. The site boasts of world class facilities and quality infrastructure. The JV will develop skills and activity in the region together with an Indian supply chain for the manufacturing of microwave technologies and high performance airborne electronics.” The JV plans to have a team of 40 people to begin with. It will be set up with a long term strategy to serve the Indian needs and within the framework of offsets commitments as part of the 36 Rafale combat aircraft contract.