BAE Systems is expecting an Indian decision on a follow-on order for 57 additional Hawk trainer jets to be used for the training of Indian Navy and Air Force pilots. This second batch will include 17 aircraft for the Navy and 40 for the Air Force. India had ordered 66 Hawk jets in 2004 for $1.45 billion. 24 of these aircraft were delivered from the UK while the remaining to be locally produced in India by HAL. BAE Systems is also seeking other business opportunities in India, including sales to the Indian Army. The company is competing for the supply of 400 towed howitzers to India and expects further requirements for additional 1,000 – including lightweight howitzers.
Homeland security and naval products are two sectors BAE expect to grow in. To strengthen its local presence, in accordance with the local regulation, BAE Systems plans to jointly produce radars, body armor, command and control systems and naval security equipment. An initial cooperation with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, India’s biggest sport-utility vehicle maker, has already been launched. According to the local law, the Indian partner will hold the majority 74 per cent stake in the venture. BAE is also considering expanding its partnership with Wipro Ltd, India’s third-biggest software exporter by sales. The companies announced their cooperation plans in November 2007.
At Aero-India 2009 BAE Systems launched the international debut for its newly developed autonomous air vehicle, Mantis. Sofar Mantis appeared only once since being unveiled at last year’s Farnborough airshow. Apart from Mantis, the new autonomous Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) being developed by BAE Systems will include the Herti. The Indians are quite impressed with the opportunity to enter early and learn a lot from a technology demonstration program like the Mantis. Phase one of the program is currently underway with BAE Systems working alongside the UK MoD and industrial parties, including Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, GE Aviation, SELEX Galileo and Meggitt.