On the eve of Indian Air Force Day 2023, Raksha Anirveda spoke to Adam Watson, the new Managing Director of BAE Systems India. During the brief conversation, Adam Watson explained BAE Systems’ active role play in support of Indian Government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives, its collaborative business strategy to realise ‘Co-Creating for a Self-Reliant India’ and more. Edited excerpts:
RA. How does BAE Systems view Indian Government’s Self-Reliance India (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) initiative? How is the company planning to support this initiative?
AW. India is a key strategic market for BAE Systems, and we deeply value the longstanding association we have with India which spans over seven decades. As a founding partner of defence manufacturing in India, BAE Systems has always supported the progress of India’s indigenous defence ecosystem. We are fully in support of the Government’s vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Make in India’. This is why, our partnership with India has evolved significantly during the past 10 years and it’s well reflected in our mission of ‘Co-Creating for a Self-Reliant India’.
In the last few years, the company has increasingly collaborated with the local industry to support the Indian Armed Forces in their modernisation journey. Our key programmes like Hawk Mk132 trainer aircraft were built in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), and the M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer programme in partnership with Mahindra Defence Systems Limited (MDSL).
These two partnerships are well known in the defence industry and we are proud to have contributed in modernising India’s defence capabilities through such in-country collaborations. In fact, over the last one year, we have continued our quest to expand our collaborations with the local industry. This is why, in Aero India 2023, we announced a MoU with India’s FSTC under which we will work jointly to develop simulator technologies. This technology is for Hawk Mk132 and is a realistic synthetic environment to help pilots train at very high standards.
Moreover, in Aero India this year, we also signed a MoU with Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research and Technologies where we will work together to explore opportunities to collaborate in next generation uncrewed systems and associated technologies.
As India accelerates towards greater self-reliance in defence, BAE Systems looks forward to further collaborating with the Indian industries and leveraging BAE Systems’ high quality, innovative, cutting-edge niche technology.
RA. What are the upcoming programme BAE Systems is focusing on at this point in time and where do these projects stand? What are BAE Systems’ products that can be offered to meet India’s current requirements?
AW. The dynamic defence and security landscape of India, offers great potential to companies such as ours. Indian government also looks keen to procure the most advanced, state-of-the-art, and futuristic defence equipment that can best suit Indian Armed Forces current requirements. In addition to our ongoing programmes, we have lot of modern technologies from projects such as CV90 and BvS10 Beowulf, which are designed to provide strategic mobility, high survivability and protection in any terrain or tactical environment, are well-positioned to support the Indian army in their critical ground missions.
The CV90 platform is engineered to provide optimum mobility and agility. On the ground it delivers first-class performance even in the toughest terrains, providing your personnel with the tactical edge. For BvS10, we have recently partnered with Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and are extremely excited about this new venture. Under this partnership, we will bring the world-leading all-terrain vehicle, the BvS10, to the Indian market. BAE Systems and L&T have co-developed the BvS10 to meet the specific requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. This new variant will be known as the BvS10-Sindhu.
“We have lot of modern technologies from projects such as CV90 and BvS10 Beowulf, which are designed to provide strategic mobility, high survivability and protection in any terrain or tactical environment, are well-positioned to support the Indian army in their critical ground missions”
– Adam Watson, Managing Director of BAE Systems India
We believe BvS10 is well suited for the Indian Armed Forces and will play a crucial role in supporting them in various critical missions. The BvS10’s articulated mobility, provides optimal manoeuvrability across varying terrains including snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamps, and steep mountain environments. The vehicle’s amphibious features also allow it to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters. It can deliver personnel and supplies as well as mounted lethality to address any threat in the modern operating environment.
We also anticipate potential in the cyber security sector and developed technology and resources. Moreover, our Unmanned Aircraft Systems, such as PHASA-35® or our large UAS concept vehicle; could play a predominant role in the modern-day warfare situations and display technologies that will be used in the aircraft and systems of the future.
RA. Please highlight more on the support BAE Systems had offered for Cyber Security Exercise conducted by India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the UK Government?
AW. It was fantastic to play our part in the recent cyber security exercise. Our BAE Systems team facilitated a bespoke scenario based on threat intelligence and operational experiences, with 26 countries taking part. Designed by our engineers, the exercise explored the complexity of decision-making in response to ransomware on Critical National Infrastructure. As cyber threats are becoming more advanced, it was a great experience for us to play our part and give partner nations the opportunity to test their capability in a secure and controlled environment.
BAE Systems has the technological capability to protect not only land, air, and sea borders but also to ensure the security of the cyber realm. Our Cyber Portfolio encompasses a spectrum of offerings, such as risk advisory and governance, security testing, incident response, the development of national-level cyber defence capabilities, and the management of enterprise network security.
We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to assist India in fortifying its cyber defences and safeguarding critical national information whenever the need arises.