Despite Indian authorities' hesitance to buy systems from the U.S. due to American dual-use technology export control restrictions, U.S. companies have notched orders worth $8 billion in India in the last few years and deals worth over $10 billion are in the pipeline.
The latest announcement from the Indian air force late last year was the selection of Boeing's Apache AH-64D to meet its requirement for 22 multirole combat helicopters.
Boeing submitted proposals to offer the latest Block III version of Apache to India in 2009. Russia, which had bid the Mi-28, announced late in 2011 that it was out of the estimated $1.4 billion deal after failing to meet several of the air force's technical requirements.
Close on the heels of the Apache deal, Boeing got another boost when the air force opted for Chinook CH-47F to fulfill its requirement for 15 heavy-lift helicopters. Boeing emerged as the lowest bidder when life-cycle costs were calculated, edging out a proposal for the Russian Mi-26.
“These deals, estimated at around $2.5 billion [together], are expected to be signed in 2013,” the Indian defense ministry official notes.
Another major Boeing contract is the $4 billion deal to supply 10 C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft. “The first C-17 aircraft will be delivered to India in May or June 2013, and by mid-2014 all 10 aircraft are likely to be with the [air force],” says Patrick Druez, head of business development for Boeing Military Aircraft's Mobility Div. in Northern Europe and India.
India will also receive the first three of its eight contracted P-8Is long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft this year. “The program is progressing on schedule as Boeing assembles the fourth and fifth P-8Is,” Dennis Swanson, a vice president at Boeing Defense, Space & Security, tells Aviation Week.
Under a $2 billion contract signed in 2009, Boeing will deliver eight of the long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to India starting in the first half of this year, with an option for four more. India is the launch customer for the P-8I, a variant of the U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon.
“With 7,500 kilometers of coastline and three aircraft carriers, the Indian navy is going to have a tremendous need for . . . maritime and surveillance aircraft,” says Carl Lang, Boeing's P-8I program manager. “So we expect that once the navy starts using the P-8I, the demand may go up to 30 or more.”
The air force is also planning to exercise its option for another six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin, in a bid to complete the full squadron of 12 Hercules in its transport fleet.