GH Rao (GH) is a corporate officer of HCL Technologies and President of the Engineering and R&D Solutions (ERS) practice at HCL that focuses on supplying product and platform engineering solutions to top OEMs, Tier 1s, ISVs and Enterprises globally. Appendix 3 of Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classification contains a list of all dual-use products and technologies export of which is regulated. For the TCS project two contenders, a consortium of Larsen & Toubro, Tata Energy SED and HCL Infosystems Ltd and Bharat Electronics Restricted, are in contention for the Indian Army’s Tactical Communications Systems (TCS) Project.
Indigenous style and development for weapons and systems that are sunrise technologies have a substantial lead time and there is no want to shy away from procuring these technologies rather than reinventing the wheel over a period when the technologies has moved on and has currently matured and newer technologies have arrived. In other words, by cost the OEM would get a share of (16+70 per cent x 16+40 per cent x 24) 36 aircraft and the Indian companion 20 aircraft.
Instead of establishing niche capabilities in sunrise technologies at the component, parts and assembly level on one particular side and seek to establish a leadership position in program integration on the other side is the mantra for good results. Whichever prototype is lastly chosen, that would then go into production, with the winning proposal getting offered a 60-75 per cent share and the other participant organization a 25-40 per cent share of production. This project can lay the foundations for a flourishing and genuine indigenous aerospace industry in India of the future.
In current years the mega missed chance for growth of a national helicopter developing capacity in India in the private sector has been the orders placed for the (80+76) Mi17 helicopters by the IAF with out exploring a Purchase and Make Indian induction model. This a single project would figure out if India is to stay a screwdriver technology nation under the licensed production route or build genuine capability via Joint Ventures / Consortia beneath the Purchase and Make Indian Route with 50 per cent indigenous content and only ten per cent proprietary technology with OEM.
Remembering that Engine charges comprise about 20 per cent of aircraft fees, it is core technology and from a perspective of encouraging an engine manufacturer to locate a manufacturing plant in India we need to appear at aircraft acquisitions holistically. On the other hand, foreign OEMs will have no decision but to engage with Indian business, both DPSU and Private, to win projects in India.