Raytheon, the Massachusetts-headquartered Defence and security systems supplier, feels that a number of its missiles can be fitted on the aircraft that the Indian Air Force plans to buy as part of its modernisation programme.

“Just last week we got an RFI (Request for Interest – the first stage of the bidding process) from the IAF for a HEAT (High Speed Expendable Aerial Target) missile,” said Mr Jeff White, Senior Programme Manager – Air Warfare Systems Business Development, Raytheon Missile Systems.

Submits Request for Interest

“Last night, I sent a letter of interest,” he told a group of Indian journalists on a visit to some of Raytheon’s facilities in the US at the invitation of the company, at Tucson on Thursday.

The RFI had asked for the price for a single unit as well as for multiples of 100, Mr White, a former US Marine Corps pilot, said. “We are pretty excited about the RFI,” he added.

Long-term ties

He and other Raytheon executives who interacted with the journalists over the last four days reiterated that the US company was interested in a long-term relationship with India, both for supplying missiles and for tying up with Indian companies that would manufacture either the systems or components for the missiles.

Technology transfer

Raytheon was in talks with a number of Indian companies, they said, but declined to name them. Over time, Raytheon was open to the idea of transferring technology to the Indian companies and to manufacturing in India, as a means to cut costs.

The Indian Air Force is evaluating the options for its MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) programme. Raytheon feels that its missiles such as JSOW (Joint Standoff Weapon), Maverick, AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) and AIM-9X are capable of being integrated with any type of aircraft that the IAF may select for the programme. The Eurofighter and Rafale are the two in the race for the $10 billion MMRCA to supply about 125 aircraft.

According to Raytheon officials, the IAF has also issued two RFIs for Intelligence Surveillance Targeting and Reconnaissance radars. Raytheon officials have met IAF officials several times and discussed what the company could offer.

(This article was published on November 11, 2011)
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