Boeing Eyes Autonomy in Avionics, Scales Up Operations

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The Economic Times

November 30, 2017

Swathy R. Iyer

Hyderabad: Boeing will scale up manufacturing in India by spreading its operations across Hyderabad and other southern cities, said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India.

“Boeing in India is now also focused on scaling up manufacturing through partnerships and engineering—both internally and through partnerships. When it comes to manufacturing, we have increased our sourcing by four folds over the past three years. This year, we expect this number to go beyond $ 1 billion,” said Kumar, while pointing to Hyderabad and Bangalore as the aerospace hubs in the country.

Kumar said the company will soon expand its manufacturing and engineering footprint in India. “Today, we have around 1,200 people employed in India and our goal is to have 3,000 engineers in the country by 2020 and we are rapidly moving towards the same.

There is a broad engineering capability in India and we will be hiring employees across functions—ranging from high-end aeromechanics engineers to computer science engineers and testing engineers. Our engineering base will be spread across Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai since we see growth in all these three areas,” said Kumar. Kumar also pointed out how the Indian army and navy are both now showing a lot of interest in Apache, Chinook helicopters and maritime surveillance aircraft.

“The Indian Navy has been operating the P-81 maritime surveillance aircraft quite successfully—they have eight vehicles on board and have ordered four more. The army has also shown a lot of interest in Apache and 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters are on order. We are happy to see that all three branches of defense services in India are using our platform to increase capabilities,” According to Kumar, the Indian army has received clearances, from the Defense Acquisition Council, to purchase six Apaches.

While stating that the aerospace industry in India is still in its early stages, Kumar said “For the longest time in India, the aerospace sector was dominated by government-owned PSUs and it is only in the last five or seven years that private players have entered this space. The Indian aerospace industry is expected to find a presence on the global supply chain of global aerospace majors in the future.” Major players in the aerospace sector are today working on the concept of autonomy in avionics—which would enable unpiloted operations of aircraft.

“We are always working on next-gen aircraft and emerging technologies—such as autonomy in avionics and next-gen space vehicles and capsules. We are at the cusp of another revolution in aerospace innovation,” said Kumar, who said that India was one of the priority markets for the American aircraft manufacturer.

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