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L&T, Raytheon partner for combat aircraft

Other than L&T, the $20-billion Raytheon Group has signed agreements with three other Indian firms, including Wipro, Godrej & Boyce and software firm Data Patterns, reports Indulal PM.

business Updated: Nov 20, 2007 23:14 IST
Indulal PM
Indulal PM
Hindustan Times

Engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with Raytheon for the US defence major's multi-role fighter jet programme, besides co-operation in defence projects.

L&T and Raytheon would work togther on combat jet contracts as well as other defence deals in the country, said a senior L&T official. As per the agreement, both companies will also develop technology for the Indian armed forces.

Foreign military contractors have been rushing to sign agreements with Indian firms in the defence sector. India, which is one of the world's largest military importers with a total defence budget of over Rs 86,000 crore, plans to spend over $12 billion (approximately Rs 46,000 crore) to buy 126 combat airplanes.

Foreign military contractors, including the US-based Lockheed Martin and Boeing, France's Dassault Aviation, Russia's MiG and Sweden's SAB are bidding. The June 3 edition of Hindustan Times had reported that L&T was likely to form a joint venture or sign a partnership agreement with foreign military contractors including Raytheon and Boeing. It has already signed similar pacts with Airbus parent EADS.

Other than L&T, the $20-billion Raytheon Group had signed agreements with three other Indian firms, including Wipro, Godrej & Boyce and software firm Data Patterns.

"Currently we are one of the leading suppliers in the Indian defence space. This new agreement will help us induct superior technology, and expand our range of high-value offerings in the defence sector," said MV Kotwal, senior executive vice-president, L&T.

The agreement is part of the Offset Policy 2006 where the government had made it mandatory for foreign firms to source 30 per cent of the total cost of arms supplied to India from the country.

Defence secretary Shekhar Dutt said the offset provisions will bring in $10 billion to Indian defence equipment suppliers.

The Tata Group and L&T are the two major private sector suppliers to the Indian defence sector. Godrej, the Mahindras and even software firms like Wipro, TCS and HCL Technologies are eying the $10 billion market.

First Published: Nov 20, 2007 22:37 IST