Airbus eyes partnerships in Indian defence, space

Airbus is looking for partnerships in Indian defence and space sectors, Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said on Friday.

The European aerospace major is also looking for tie-ups with both private and government companies to develop a sourcing and manufacturing base in India, he said.

“In a world that is changing so rapidly, it is important to have partners that you can trust and are reliable. The relationship of Airbus and India is one such partnership,” Schoellhorn said, adding “we can say that we make in India, skill in India and innovate in India.”

“We realise the manufacturing prowess is nothing but building a skilled ecosystem and hence we have invested to build partnership and joint ventures in India,” Schoellhorn said, adding that Make In India is at the heart of Airbus’ strategy here.

The company is eyeing the Indian space sector that is likely to attract significant investments due to the Indian Space Policy announced in 2023, he said. “Airbus will be looking to play a big role in the space sector which is at the cusp of development,” Schoellhorn said, adding that Airbus has already built satellites in India and the aircraft manufacturer has played a part in Israel’s space sector.

In recent times, Airbus has signed various deals and contracts for manufacturing and sourcing.

The company has tied up with Tata Advanced Systems to assemble the C295 aircraft in Vadodara. In September 2021, the Indian Air Force signed a deal with the European aviation giant for 56 of such C295 transport aircraft.

Schoellhorn said the project will create 15,000 jobs in India.

“The C295 project exemplifies this commitment, with 16 aircraft to be delivered from Spain. This venture is expected to create 15,000 jobs, including 10,000 for small companies, thereby contributing to India’s economic growth and technological advancement,” he said.

Last week, Airbus announced another partnership with the Tata group to establish a final assembly line for helicopters, which will be used for both civilian and military purposes.

It has also formed a joint venture with Air India to build an aviation training centre, which it said will be the biggest in South Asia.

Airbus expects to double the total value of parts it sources from India to $1.5 billion in coming years.

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Harry Byrne

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