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Mahindra to make Howitzer parts for BAE Systems

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 17, 2016

BL18HOWITZER

Firms team up again after 3 years

Exactly three years after BAE Systems pulled out of a joint venture with the Mahindra Group, the two companies have teamed up again to make M-777 Ultra Light Howitzers for the defence forces.

At present, India and the US are in discussions for the sale of 145 M777 Howitzers, estimated at around $700 million, to the Indian Army. India is said to be reviewing the letter of acceptance submitted by the US.

In a statement, BAE Systems said it has selected Mahindra as its business partner to provide “part of the supply chain that assembles the gun. Mahindra will assemble, integrate and test the proposed in-country support weapon systems at their facility.”

Speaking to BusinessLine, a BAE official said: “This is not a joint venture. There is no equity holding. We have tied up with Mahindra to deliver a particular part of the production line.” BAE Systems said it would finalise details of the proposed assembly, integration and test (AIT) facility for the M-777 with Mahindra, as well as negotiate the terms of its contractual arrangement.

Operational advantage

SP Shukla, Group President, Mahindra Defence and Aerospace, noted that the M-777 would give the defence forces “a much-needed operational advantage and access to state-of-the-art technology. The Mahindra M-777 facility will also ensure that life-cycle support is available locally, thereby enhancing operational availability of the guns.” Mahindra has not identified the location of the facility.

Joe Senftle, VP and General Manager, Weapon Systems, BAE Systems Inc, noted in a statement: “The facility is a fundamental part of the M-777 production line… We will continue to support the two governments to progress to contract agreement, so that we may begin the process of Make in India for M777.”

BAE was reportedly in talks with several Indian companies, including Ordnance Factory Board, Tata Power, L&T, Punj Lloyd, and Kalyani Group, in its hunt for a partner. “A group of companies were evaluated for their suitability to do the job, and of those, M&M was considered the most suitable,” confirmed the BAE official.

Published on February 17, 2016
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