Airbus planning to set up Indian manufacturing base


Airbus is offering to set up a new manufacturing base in India if the Indian Navy chooses the Airbus AS565 Panther for its new multi-mission helicopter tender.

India is upping its defence spending as part of a military modernisation drive. The government has budgeted $250 billion to modernise its armed forces with the result that defence expenditure hit $52.5 billion last. This was enough to make India the world’s fifth-largest spender in defence last year, pipping at the post the UK which fell to sixth place with a $50.7 billion.

As part of this budget, the Indian Navy has issued two Requests for Information (RFI) for 111 naval-utility helicopters and 123 multi-role helicopters, both of which Airbus is pursuing.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India (PTI) Pierre de Bausset, president and managing director of Airbus India said: “In the case of Naval-Utility Helicopters (NUH), we will be manufacturing (them) in India not only for the Indian market but for the world as well. For customers world-wide who are interested in that model (AS565 Panther), they would get it from India.”

The French manufacturer has offered its H225M helicopter to fulfil the tender request for 123 naval multi-role helicopters.

Last month, Airbus secured two helicopter orders with the US military for a total of 51 UH-27A Lakotas. The orders follow a string of delays as rival manufacturer Leonardo filed a lawsuit against the US Army for not holding a competitive selection process to choose its next institutional training helicopter.