India, We See As A Core Growth Market For Future: Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg

In Paris air show, Boeing Chairman & CEO Dennis Muilenburg speaks with BW Businessworld. He outlines his commitment to India, reassuring his ongoing investment in building defence supply chain.

Photo Credit : Boeing,

Dennis Muilenburg announced the continued investment in the Indian market - a twofold broad based investment across Defence, Commercial & Space services. In an exclusive interaction with BW Businessworld at Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, he outlined his commitment to India. “That is ongoing and robust and our investment in Indian has roughly quadrupled over the last five years. That includes technology investment, supply chain investment and production capacity. Some of the work that we committed on Super hornet opportunity in India includes that broad infrastructure investment in India. It is regardless of the ongoing competition.  If Super Hornet is selected for the Forces in India, there will be additional investment on the top of that. So, that will be a twofold investment. We have a sustained growth investment in India.

He also sought to regain trust and building the image over the 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.He emphatically announced the slle of measures and that includes the improvement of communications said," how we engage around the world, we know those are areas where we could’ve and should’ve done better. And, that includes having dialogues with all of you in the media, our stakeholders etc."

"We want to ensure transparency and effective communication with all of our effective stakeholders so we have some areas to improve there. All of those changes are on their way and those are very good short term actions, he assured to the group of worldwide media at a gathering in Paris on Monday.  

"In addition to that we have several long term actions that we’re looking at. One is the committee established under purview of the board to handle of the certification and designing processes. That team has been assembled and has started work and made substantial progress. We’re bringing in more audit activities and any findings from that will contribute directly to our safety and certification processes," said Muilenburg, reiterating the intense engagements with the regulators. 

For India, Boeing has offered to build a 21st century aerospace ecosystem in India for co-developing F/A-18 Super Hornet with Indian partner Mahindra. Speaking on the sideline of the media conference organized by Boeing in Paris, Charlie Miller, VP, International Communications, Boeing said: “The 'Make in India' programme for the Super Hornet has been envisioned for aircraft made in India for India.” 

Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multi role combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft.

Building a next gen war-fighter in India and a 21st century aerospace ecosystem with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra along with Boeing industry’s partners (GE Aviation, GKN Aero, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon). Boeing has one of the largest aerospace clusters in the world and its F/A-18 production involves 60,000 jobs and 800 suppliers in 44 US States, Boeing officials say that this can be replicated in India. "This partnership will create jobs and industrial capacity in India and also helps Boeing stay globally competitive," he commented further on the scale of the operation in India.

“What's this about is the fact that our commitment to India is well known and recognized today because we have been investing heavily in India for some years now. We have 2,000 employees and India that's going to grow to five thousand. We have major Investments with for example, the Tata group,” Miller emphasized the year on year investment in India. Last year, Boeing’s investment in India has crossed $1billion. “We are making in India today. So, our commitment is known if F-18 team is selected then we will be making F-18 in India for India and there is no question that we will do that because today everybody can see all the work that we're already doing,” he said.

In the developing Indian defence ecosystem, Government of India is reaching out to the international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate on the technology and building capabilities in India. In 2009, the government of India ordered eight P-8I advanced antisubmarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft. The P-8I is an India-unique variant of the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon, which was developed from the Boeing 737-800. All P-8Is have been well inducted in to the Indian Navy. The government also extended the order of additional four P-8I aircraft and the deliveries are expected to begin in 2020.

Boeing has been working with suppliers in India for over two decades in manufacturing, IT and engineering services. "There are more than 160 suppliers providing advanced, complex components and sub assemblies for our commercial and defense aircraft as part of an integrated global supply chain," said Miller. 

Boeing’s decision to invest and building supply chain in India has resulted in some critical components such as aerostructures, wire harness, composites, forgings, avionics mission systems and ground support equipment for Boeing’s commercial and defense aircraft, including the 777, 787, P-8, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-15 and CH-47 Chinook. 

In this year, The Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) has already inducted first four Chinook CH-47F helicopters and the Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa was optimistic of a larger fleet of Chinook. a $1.5 billion worth of deal was signed in 2015 between Boeing and MoD. 

Boosting further fire power to the Indian Armed Forces and with ground breaking Indis- US defence relations, in May, Boeing handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday the first of the 22 Apache attack helicopters that India had contracted to buy in September 2015 for about $3 billion at current prices. 

US has put India under Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) status and being issued a federal notification, posing India a strategic defence partner in the Indo- pacific. With such groundwork already done in India, will boost up Boeing India’s growth story. 


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