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India a hub for aircraft engineering design

December 28, 2005 11:17 IST

Wings, landing gear, wire harnesses, engine components, interiors, lighting, fuselage.... These are just a few components of an aircraft that are being designed, modelled, crash analysed and validated by Indian companies for global aerospace clients.

So the next time you see an aircraft and marvel at its structure, design and efficiency don't be surprised to know that probably some of its components have been designed and tested closer home.

National Association of Software and service Companies estimates that the top 10 players in the global aerospace industry spend around $2.8 billion every year on designs, with the outsourceable portion of the expenditure being around $1 billion. Over the last few years, Indian companies have been gradually increasing their share in the total outsourceable pie.

According to available reports, the amount of engineering services work in the aerospace sector that is being outsourced to India is around million at present, and is touted to grow many folds.

Says a spokesperson from Infosys Technologies Ltd that has been providing engineering services for the last 13 years, "We have seen accelerated growth in the engineering services space in the past 36 months and this is going to increase in the days to come.

"The momentum has been driven by the supply-side enabling factors like increase in available bandwidth enabling transfer of large data files, digitisation of engineering and acceptance of India as a significant source of engineering talent besides shortened product lifecycles and agile global competition."

"The aerospace industry is coming up with many new aircraft required by several new airlines. Increased interest in India as a future market compels companies to consider India as a sourcing base," he adds. Infosys has been involved in designing a portion of the Airbus A380's wing.

Another key company in this sector is Tata Consultancy Services, which has partnered with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, for providing engineering solutions to the global aerospace industry.

Some of the aerospace companies that TCS has worked with include Boeing, B/E Aerospace, Dunlop Aerospace, GE Aircraft Engines, Goodrich Corporation and Pratt & Whitney. HAL, with an annual turnover exceeding $1 billion has clients like Boeing, Airbus and Snecma group.

Echoing the optimism of the industry, Pinaki Dasgupta, vice-president and head of aerospace and defence practice (manufacturing business unit), Satyam Computer Services Limited, says, "In the past, the aerospace segment was closely guarded and hence companies did not consider outsourcing engineering design to India.

"Today, however, Indian entities provide engineering services to many aerospace companies and are building their capabilities at a fast clip. Leading aerospace companies are keen to set up their global engineering development centres in India."

Satyam's engineering facilities are located in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai with a team of 2,000 people providing services in mechanical and electronics engineering areas.

Dasgupta says that the industry is experiencing the onset of a positive cycle highlighted by the forecast of a total of 96,000 new civil engine deliveries worth $550 billion in commercial aircraft and jet engine market over the next 20 years.

"Additionally, this creates an after-market opportunity of around $500 billion over the next 20 years," he adds. The manufacturing vertical (including the aerospace and defence sector) contributes to 30 per cent of Satyam's total revenues and has been growing at a rate of 50 per cent.

Infotech Enterprises, another major player in this segment, is also bullish on future growth.

According to Sudhir Sethi, president and executive director of Infotech Enterprises, "India is now a big market for airlines and with the demand for aircraft growing, we expect a significant amount of engineering design work to be outsourced to India." Some of Infotech's clients include Goodrich Corporation and B/E Aerospace.

Infotech has completed over one million man hours on aerospace projects with more than 500 engineers working on turbines, wings, tail, doors, electrical power units, gear boxes and landing gear of an aircraft. It recently inaugurated a centre of excellence for engineering design and technical publications for Airbus platform.

"With growth in the number of clients and the size of deals, Infotech will surely be setting up more dedicated centres for global aerospace clients in the near future," Sethi says.
Barkha Shah in Hyderabad
Source: source