Tata HAL Technologies was formed in 2008 to combine Tata Technologies' engineering-services experience with HAL's design and manufacturing expertise. “We took domain skills and leadership capability from HAL, plus capital, and Tata was responsible for scaling that,” says Warren Harris, global chief operating officer for Tata Technologies.
The joint venture sells engineering services for aerostructures to markets outside HAL, using designers in Tata's “delivery centers” in Bengaluru, Europe and the U.S. “Business development is by Tata and delivery responsibility is through Tata and the joint venture,” he says. Tata HAL delivers a complete design package, says Srivastava, including stress analysis, certification reports and engineering support through the first article produced.
Although to date much of the work placed with Indian industry by foreign OEMs has involved manufacturing, “increasingly we are seeing requests for proposals and work packages for engineering services,” Harris says. The MMRCA procurement will accelerate the trend, he says, as Dassault's legacy data is migrated to the platform that will be used to develop and produce an India-specific variant of the Rafale.
Tata HAL is working on a major aerostructures design package for a European airframer, while Mahindra Satyam recently completed the structural design of “high-end primary fuselage structure” for another European airframer, says Satagopan. The scale of the work required Mahindra to develop the capability to manage large programs. “We are one of the few companies that could have done such a large work package successfully,” he says. “Now we are getting similar work packages from other OEMs.”
Harris says India's aerospace engineering-services business is forecast to grow from $850 million in 2011 to $5 billion by 2022. “We are working with most of the large aerospace OEMs,” he says. “The driver to tap into India increasingly is the need for resources and talent, because the graying of the workforce in Europe and the U.S. means there are not enough engineers.”
While its engineering capability has grown to equal that of Europe and the U.S., Harris argues, India's industry offers some unique capabilities. “India has grown out of scarce resources and its people are frugal-minded. Their engineering solutions are predicated on low cost. That can't be replicated in Europe or the U.S.”
And as the industry looks set to grow while the Indian government moves ahead with massive procurements in defense and other sectors, it is expected to do so in partnership with foreign OEMs. “We are seeing a lot of opportunities in related areas such as battle management and homeland security,” says Satagopan. “It is not clear that there is a single solution provider in India. Large and long-term partnerships are required.”
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