Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Make in India is a realistic ambition in the area of defence: Lockheed Martin

Defence equipment maker Lockheed Martin has been in India for 25 years. Phil Shaw, chief executive, Lockheed Martin India Pvt Ltd, is optimistic about the sector. Excerpts:

Published: Nov 20, 2015 07:04:34 AM IST
Updated: Nov 17, 2015 05:44:29 PM IST
Make in India is a realistic ambition in the area of defence: Lockheed Martin

Q. What is your view on the ‘Make in India’ programme?
We are very supportive. Lockheed Martin has been in India for 25 years and we have seen the way things have developed. It is positive. The government has been saying that it is relying on imports to the tune of 70 percent; that is not sustainable from the national security point of view. ‘Make in India’ is a realistic ambition in the area of defence.

Q. Does India have the necessary environment for this programme to succeed?
I think so. When it comes to demand, pure Indian demand may not be enough for manufacturers to set up facilities here. They will have to get into the global supply chain. PM Narendra Modi has repeatedly said ‘Make in India; Make for the world’. The skill base is there and in terms of suppliers, it can be developed.

Q. Is the 49 percent FDI cap an issue?
The government has said it will allow 100 percent on a case-by-case basis if cutting-edge technology is involved. In our case, we have a 26 percent stake in our joint venture (JV) with Tata. That works fine. When we bring in state-of-the-art technology, we may need a larger stake. That part of the policy has not been tested so far.

Q. Tell us about the work you do with Tata Advanced Systems.
We have a JV and a manufacturing facility in Hyderabad. We manufacture components that are for the C-130J transport aircraft not only in operation in the Indian Air Force but also for our global supply chain. That has been successful. The tail empennage and the leading edge of the tail for all C-130J go from here. The first aircraft with an Indian tail flew last October. Every C-130J aircraft now carries an Indian tail.

(This story appears in the 27 November, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)