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We are Excited About tapping into India’s Skilled Aerospace Industry and Transferring Our Expertise and Technology to the Indian Industry
Regional executive, India & South Asia, Sikorsky, Air Vice Marshal Arvind Walia (retd)

Air Vice Marshal Arvind Walia (retd) According to the recent reports Sikorsky has won Indian Navy’s multirole helicopter programme. Could you give more details on that?
We are very happy that Sikorsky has been selected to serve the Indian Navy. The helicopter selected, S-70B Seahawk, is a variant of the Black Hawk which has earned the reputation for dependable and reliable performance across a variety of operating conditions. Our endeavour at this stage is to expedite the process of negotiations with the ministry of defence and the navy, to help address their needs in a timely fashion.

Will Tata be your Indian partner in manufacturing the S-70B Seahawk helicopter? What technologies are you planning to transfer to the Indian partner in the course of the programme?
Sikorsky has had a successful partnership with Tata group to build cabins for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. Production has gone up to delivering four cabins a month and in October 2013, our JV delivered the first fully indigenously-built kit to Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), with responsibility for future design modifications including military variants.

We see huge potential in the Indian market. India is already a part of our global supply chain and all our endeavours are towards growing our base in India for further outreach in the global market.

Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin MH-60 R/S helicopter is also on offer to the Indian Navy through FMS. Do you think the Indian government will agree to this programme in FMS route, now that there is a lot of emphasis on indigenous production?
Sikorsky has been responding to, and will continue to respond to, the RFIs & RFPs being issued by the MoD and has a wide range of pioneering and proven aircrafts that cater to the needs of India’s civil aviation, defence preparedness and internal security requirements.

What steps have you taken recently to align yourself with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiatives?
While we started off our operations in a completely greenfield environment few years ago, in a short span Sikorsky has delivered on the challenge of indigenous manufacturing and assembly of cabins for S-92 helicopters. The India operation is not only assembling cabins but also producing all parts needed for the assembly. The production of the cabin became completely indigenised in October 2013. Sikorsky had laid out a roadmap in 2009 to extend collaboration in India to produce a complete helicopter here, subject to meeting stipulated objectives and goals. Indigenisation of the S-92 helicopter cabins is a milestone in reaching that target.

Sikorsky recently unveiled next generation military aircrafts, S-97 Raider and CH-53K. What response did you get in the competitive global market? Would you be open to exporting these helicopters?
Sikorsky is open to offer (subject to the US government approvals) its latest technology-based platform, the S-97 Raider to India. The technology is scalable to a variety of military missions including assault, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications. This capability, and the multirole configuration of the S-97, makes it the ideal candidate to fulfil future military programmes worldwide, including India.

What are the current programmes that are on-going (and the ones in the pipeline) for Indian Coast Guard (ICG)? What are the approximate delivery dates for these programmes?
Sikorsky has completed the process of flight evaluation/ demonstration in October 2014. We look forward to hearing from ICG on the next steps in their evaluation process.

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