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Our sourcing from India is at approximately $1 billion today: Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India

Boeing’s India operations and 275 partners contribute to each of its commercial airplanes worldwide and every defence airplane in India, says Salil Gupte, its country chief​.

August 30, 2021 / 09:54 AM IST
Salil Gupte, Boeing India President

Salil Gupte, Boeing India President


The parts made by Indian suppliers are used in every Boeing commercial airplane worldwide and every defence airplane in India, says Salil Gupte, President of Boeing India. In an exclusive interview, Gupte told Moneycontrol that Indian suppliers manufacture critical systems and components for some of Boeing’s most advanced aircraft, including the 777, 787 Dreamliner, 737, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-15, CH-47 Chinook, P-8 and AH-64 Apache. The aircraft maker has more than 275 suppliers in the country. Edited excerpts:

What role do Indian suppliers play in the manufacture of the various aircraft that you make?

Indian suppliers are an integral part of Boeing’s strategy for growth and are key to our commitment to strengthening India’s aerospace industry. Boeing today works with more than 275 Indian suppliers and we have been steadily increasing our sourcing from India for the global manufacturing and supply chain. Boeing’s sourcing from India is at approximately $1 billion today. In 2021, we are developing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in support of our commitment to Aatmanirbhar Bharat. In fact, 26 percent of our suppliers from India are MSMEs.

Also Read: Made in India, flying all over the world

Boeing’s industrial partners in India are raising the bar to deliver world-class quality, cost-efficiency and productivity as they become an important part of the company’s worldwide supply chain for some of the most advanced airplanes in the world. Indian suppliers manufacture critical systems and components for some of Boeing’s most advanced products, such as the 777, 787 Dreamliner, 737, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-15, CH-47 Chinook, P-8 and AH-64 Apache.

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Tell us about the work your suppliers in India do.

Indian suppliers are supplying us for every single commercial airplane today. Specific examples include Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), which manufactures advanced composite floor beams for all the Boeing Dreamliner airplane variants. TASL was recently awarded a contract for the manufacture and supply of the Boeing 737 fan cowl. TASL also delivers 787 over-wing and under-wing panels, main landing gear doors and front access doors for the 737 MAX.

Bharat Forge manufactures a range of titanium forged parts including forgings for the 777X. Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) in Hyderabad produces the 777 uplock boxes and 737 vertical fin. Cyient has supported several critical design-engineering projects for Boeing airplanes and currently provides design and stress support on the 747-8 freighter and the 787.

CIM Tools, an MSME, makes machined parts for the 737 and 787. Rossell Techsys, an MSME, and Cyient, have won Boeing’s Supplier of the Year awards multiple times

The Indian supplier landscape has gone through a transformation over the last few years with proven capabilities in driving manufacturing predictability and performance. We have been consistently supporting our partners in upgrading their capabilities and technologies through training, skilling and other initiatives.

Are there any instances of an Indian company being the sole supplier for a particular part or of design being done only in India?

There are several examples where Indian companies (both private and PSUs) are the global suppliers of critical parts for Boeing’s commercial and defence airplanes, including complex assemblies, large structural parts, and advanced composite parts, wire harnesses, panels, cabinets, gun-bay doors, machined parts and advanced composite parts. For example, Hindustan Aeronautics manufactures the F/A-18 gun bay doors, while Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. manufactures the 787-floor beam and the crown and tail for the Chinooks.

We have multiple programmes on both the commercial and defence front where significant engineering work is handled from the Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centers (BIETC) in Bengaluru and Chennai, the largest airplane design and engineering centre of any airplane OEM in India. Cutting-edge research and development work in traditional and emerging areas is also done at BIETC in next-generation airplane health management, environment-friendly coatings, advanced networks and secure communications.

Also Read: Every one of our commercial aircraft today is partly made in India: Airbus’s Rémi Maillard

Boeing’s dedicated research and technology lab (the only one of its kind outside the United States) at BIETC also redesigns key parts for commercial airplanes.

What quantum of narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A-320 or Boeing 737 family or Airbus A-350 or Boeing 787 is made in India?

From an engineering and manufacturing standpoint, Boeing’s India operations and our 275 partners in the country contribute to every Boeing commercial airplane worldwide and Boeing defence airplanes in India. From composite floor beams to vertical fins to critical engineering, there is an element of India in every 737, 777, and 787.

There is an Airbus 320 production line in China. Why is it that Boeing and Airbus do not produce aircraft in India?

From a Boeing standpoint, we are focused on driving Indian capability in line with the goals of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. This includes designing significant parts of our most advanced airplanes in India and skilling our manufacturing partners to enable the assembly of complex parts and larger elements of an airplane in India. Boeing’s first joint venture in Hyderabad, where we build the main body of the Apache helicopter, is an example of a key step in this journey. Another example of this progression would be our commitment to build fighter jets in India, in line with the focus on Make in India for the Indian Air Force’s Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft competition.
Ashwini Phadnis Senior journalist based in New Delhi
first published: Aug 30, 2021 09:39 am
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