November 2, 2015

Thales bets on Make in India


Thales, the €13-billion French multinational giant with operations in Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security, is targeting specific involvements in several Indian defence and civil areas.

In response to the Make in India initiative, Thales has already begun delving in the country’s engineering strengths and technologies, wanting to benefit from it.

“We are very keen to help the country’s defence sector, for which we have forged joint ventures and sub-contractual partnerships, in both the realms of software and hardware, respectively,” Thales India Vice President and Country Director Antoine Caput told Deccan Herald.

The defence budget of India soared to Rs 2,22,370 crore in 2014-15, compared with Rs 92,000 crore during 2007-08, growing at an average CAGR of 12 per cent. besides, the country is also home to a sizeable defence and space industry. Thales came to India in 1953, and began offering its tactical communication systems for the country’s then fledgling armed forces. From then onwards, the company has grown its presence in India’s defence scene.“The company has signed JVs with Bharat Electronics (BEL) for work in the realm of ground radars. Besides, we also develop systems in areas of monitoring airspace and ports, against guns and missiles. We are also involved with the upgradation of the Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 aircraft, and are developing missiles and rockets for HAL’s upcoming combat helicopters. Around 25 per cent of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft (to join IAF’s arsenal) is composed of Thales’ technologies,” Caput said, adding that thermal cameras, electronic systems and other sophisticated equipment are part of its mix.

The company has around 25-30 medium-to-big sub-contracted suppliers for certain hardware components. This arrangement enables Thales to export from India as well.

“In India, the strategy is to sub-contract, but we do have strength in engineering, software and R&D here. Around 300 personnel work in India on various defence projects we take up globally. Only a part of our solutions are produced in India, but large applications are developed at our Bengaluru centre,” he said.

The government’s plan for smart cities is another area of interest. “We have offered our signalling and telecom systems to the Hyderabad metro. In related areas, we also offer safety and traffic management systems,” Caput said.

Around 45 per cent of Thales’ global revenues is derived from foreign markets,alongside the 50 per cent of foreign staff that make up its total workforce of 61,000.


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