American Aerospace SMEs make pitch in India

American Aerospace SMEs make pitch in India


The US Department of Commerce's first Aerospace Supplier Development Trade Mission to India is currently on a five-day trip to the country.
The Mission has 11 aerospace companies, many of which are suppliers to Tier-I and Tier-II aerospace companies in US and different parts of the world.

"This mission is one of the many steps we are taking to foster and strengthen the relationships between US companies and potential partners in India," said Karen Zens, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US Department of Commerce, leading the trade mission, at a reception hosted here by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Karnataka, yesterday.
The mission, which included representatives from a variety of US aerospace industry manufacturers and service providers, is aimed at introducing US companies to key industry and government officials, potential strategic business and joint venture partners and existing equipment manufacturers in India.

According to a brief on commercial setting provided by the department, Indian aerospace sector ranks among the world's most dynamic, with airlines in India in the process of buying over 300 aircraft valued at about USD 35 billion between 2007 and 2012.

India also represents a large and growing annual market for air defence equipment, estimated at USD 3-4 billion.
India is planning major procurement of military aviation hardware and is also upgrading its surveillance, defence and strike capabilities, in keeping with its expanding strategic role as a regional power, the department said.
Expenditure is needed to keep pace with this growth. New product requirements (especially multi-role combat aircraft) and replacement needs of the military aviation sector are expected to cost about USD 15-20 billion in the next 3-5 years, it said.

The Indian market is particularly promising for US suppliers seeking Joint Venture opportunities. Indian aerospace companies are trying to evolve as serious players in the global market. The evolution of the Indian aerospace industry is part of a broader industry trend toward supply chain consolidation and the embrace of lean manufacturing.

According to the department, many traditional first tier supplier responsibilities are being pushed down the supply chain to second and third tier suppliers. As the larger firms move into aerospace system integration, lower-tier firms have little choice but to globalise themselves.
In many cases, once established in India, first tier firms require their supply chain partners to begin dealing directly with Indian members of the supply chain. While extremely challenging for SME suppliers, these new relationships bring an added benefit – the opportunity for additional sales with other aerospace companies doing business in India.

The Mission has already visited New Delhi and after the current trip here, would head for Hyderabad, officials said.
The companies which are part of the Mission are: David H Sutherland and Company, Eaton Technologies, Flir, Esterline Corporation, Carlton Forge Works, Greenerd Press, Impex International, Industrial Metals International, International Rite-Way Products, Kaman Aerostructures and PCC Structurals.
According to Zens, India has already attracted many big US companies, but it is important that Tier-II and Tier-III firms also explored the country.
"(Indian aerospace) Market is showing signs of great growth, attracting companies. It's a good time for the aerospace industry. We think it's the right time for companies who don't know India to explore," he said.
Aileen Crowe Nandi, Principal Commercial Officer, US Consulate, Chennai, said Indo-US bilateral trade saw a more than six per cent drop in the first six months of 2009, compared to the same period the previous year, but hoped that "we can close the gap by end of the year".
Though bilateral trade showed a "short drop" in 2009, the figure would be "way ahead of 2007", she said, adding, "Overall trend is skyrocketing...Bilateral trade has grown from USD 18.5 billion in 2006 to USD 44.5 billion in 2008."
K S Shivaswamy, managing director of Karnataka Udyog Mitra, a state government undertaking, said the state has acquired 1,000 acres near Bengaluru International Airport for MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) activity for the aircraft industry. Of this, the government plans to make 250 acres an exclusive aerospace SEZ, for which it has sought the Centre's nod.

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