Mahindra Defence and Airbus Helicopters, part of Airbus Group, have inked a pack to form a joint venture to produce military helicopters in India. The memorandum of understanding for this was signed in July last year.
The joint venture will be the first private manufacturer of military helicopters under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The JV will seek to win orders for reconnaissance and surveillance, naval utility and naval multi-role helicopters.
The pact was among 16 agreements signed between India and France on the first day of French President Francois Hollande’s three-day visit to India. Hollande is the guest of honour for India’s Republic Day celebrations.
Both Mahindra Defence and Airbus Helicopters have already started working on steps to produce helicopter parts locally.
In a statement, Mahindra and Mahindra Group President for Aerospace and Defence, S P Shukla, said with the JV both the companies will create a world-class advanced helicopter production facility in India.
The deal should come as a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ campaign.
During French President Francois Hollande’s three-day visit to India, Indian and French companies signed 16 pacts at a business summit. French companies will invest $10 billion in India over the next five years, chiefly in the industrial sector, French finance minister Michel Sapin said.
“Over the last five years, French companies have invested more than $1 billion per year in India,” Sapin had said.
Addressing the India-France Business Summit, PM Modi said India and France had huge potential to work together in various fields. The prime minister pitched for investment in India by French companies, saying India had a lot to offer in terms of skilled workforce and as a market for French products.
Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury said through this partnership, the company will target building several of its globally leading helicopter models in India.
“This will lead to the transfer of state-of-the-art technologies, development of manufacturing activities and creation of high-skilled jobs in India,” Faury said.
The JV proposes setting up a final assembly line in India, and developing tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers and make extensive transfer of technology, with the intent to ultimately achieve 50 per cent indigenous content.
“Mahindra Defence and Airbus Helicopters have agreed on a blueprint that can put India on the world map for military helicopter manufacturing,” President of Airbus Group India Pierre de Bausset said.
The Mahindra group, India’s leading utility vehicle and tractor maker through Mahindra Aerospace makes utility aircraft business, and currently produces the Airvan 8, a turbo-prop aircraft.
“This is our vision to take ‘Make in India’ from policy to reality: Build bridges across cultures, countries and businesses – enable each to focus on its core – and empower each other to Rise,” Anand Mahindra, Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd had earlier said.
Meanwhile, India and France on January 25 signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of Rafale combat jets, with PM Modi saying they had reached an inter-governmental agreement and the “financial aspects will be sorted out soon”.
The two countries were struggling to nail down a deal for India to buy 36 Rafale fighters jets made by the French company Dassault, which is in itself a watered-down version of a plan first unveiled in 2012.