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FEBRUARY 2014 ISSUE


The LCAC, and its successor the SSC, offer navies the ability to land at 80 per cent of the world’s shorelines and operate in extreme conditions ranging from Arctic to Sahara
Senior vice president and general manager, Textron Defense Systems, Ian Walsh and president & managing director, Textron India Private Limited, Inderjit Sial
 
Walsh Textron’s major defence programme, Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW) to the Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar fleet has been one of the high points for you in India. What is the scope of work for Textron, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the IAF in this programme?
Walsh: As you may recall, the SFW foreign military sale programme with India was awarded in November 2010. Once Textron Systems completed SFW production under this contract, we delivered all 512 systems to the US Air Force in late 2012. During the last year, the IAF began integration of the SFW with its fleet of Jaguar aircraft.

What are the timelines in the SFW programme? Have you finished integrating all the 512 weapon systems? Do you also see a possibility for more orders for SFW to IAF?
Walsh: As mentioned, integration of the SFW system onto Jaguar aircraft is underway. We look forward to a dialogue in the future with the IAF to determine additional system requirements.

Inderjit Sial Do you think government-to-government deal is a preferred option for Textron? Or do you also look at co-development and co-manufacturing some of your technologies in India?
Sial: Textron Systems is first and foremost a solutions provider. This focus means identifying the best business model for our customer, as well as the best products and services. Co-development and co-manufacturing are priorities for Indian customers, and we are actively exploring industry partnerships that benefit all parties.

Recently Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has discussed various roadblocks for US business community in India. What according to you are the policy roadblocks particular to the defence sector?
Sial: There are a number of issues that need to be addressed, including streamlining the procurement process, to ensure mutually beneficial collaboration and cooperation between India and the US business community. The Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) in its various iterations have addressed some issues and enhanced clarity for parties in both countries. With that said, even more needs to be done to ensure that the US defence sector and India business and government interests can work together as effectively as possible.

For the US Navy, you are offering Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) to replace the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC). Do you have any plans to offer SSC to Indian Navy instead of LCAC?
Walsh: We have had inquiries from a number of international navies since our selection by the US Navy in 2012 to lead the SSC air cushion vehicle programme. The SSC will offer a modernised means for conducting amphibious operations for the next 30 years. The primary differences between the legacy LCAC and the next-generation SSC will be a larger, more efficient engine that delivers greater power, the use of composites rather than metal for some components, and additional enhancements that improve both reliability and maintainability. Textron Systems and its teammates are performing detailed design work prior to construction of an SSC test and training craft. This initial phase of work will be completed in 2017. We anticipate that as we enter SSC production, additional potential customers will come forward to explore adding this asset to their fleets.

 
 
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