US aerospace giant Boeing and India’s Air Works have joined hands for the maintenance of the P-8I surveillance aircraft of the Indian Navy and the VIP transport fleet operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Boeing and Indian aviation services provider Air Works signed a strategic agreement for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of Boeing’s key defense platforms in India on Thursday.
The P-8I has exceptional maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, versatility, and operational readiness. In November 2020, the Indian Navy had received its ninth P-8I Neptune long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from manufacturer Boeing. The aircraft has been in service since 2013.
The strategic agreement has been signed as part of the recently launched initiative, the Boeing India Repair Development, and Sustainment (BIRDS) hub. Under the initiative, Boeing in India is running an in-country network and alliance of suppliers.
The vision of the hub is to build a competitive MRO ecosystem for engineering, maintenance, skilling, repair, and sustainment services of defense and commercial aircraft. The BIRDS hub has the aim to grow capabilities in India in the areas of heavy maintenance, component repairs, training, and skilling of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy maintainers.
Surendra Ahuja, managing director, Boeing Defence India, has said in a statement that the strategic agreement with Air Works “positions us to generate significant value for our defense customers locally by delivering faster turnaround, exceptional operational capability and mission readiness on Boeing aircraft”.
He underscored how the agreement is an important step in the company’s commitment to the government of India’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) vision of developing India as an MRO hub.
D. Anand Bhaskar, MD & CEO, Air Works, has said: “The strategic collaboration with Boeing transforms our existing relationship into a new, enriched avatar. In this new decade, the growing international recognition and enhanced dimensions of our collaboration are testaments to our demonstrated expertise in the defense and aerospace domain.”
Boeing is also undertaking building support and maintenance infrastructure along with the training of Indian Navy crews. It is currently completing construction of the Training Support & Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, and a secondary center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019.