Bengaluru, Feb 17: Propelling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India mission, BAE Systems on Wednesday said that it has down-selected Mahindra as business partner for the proposed home-grown Assembly, Integration & Test (AIT) facility for the M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer.
BAE Systems said that they are looking forward to working with Mahindra in the coming weeks to firm up on the details of the AIT facility and to negotiate the terms of its contractual arrangement.
As reported earlier by OneIndia, India and the United States are in discussions for a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 145 M777A2 LW155 howitzers for the Indian Army.
Dr Joe Senftle, Vice President and General Manager, Weapon Systems, BAE Systems, promised to support the two governments to begin the process of Make in India for M777.
"As a founding partner of defence manufacturing in India, BAE Systems is pleased to partner with Mahindra on our offer to develop an AIT facility in India. The facility is a fundamental part of the M777 production line. A domestic Assembly, Integration and Test facility will enable the Indian Army to access maintenance, spares and support for the M777 locally," says Dr Joe.
Reacting to the development, S P Shukla, Group President, Mahindra Defence and Aerospace said that both companies share the same values and common vision towards Make in India.
"BAE Systems is one of the largest defence companies globally and we could not have a better partner. M777 will give our defence forces a much needed operational advantage and an access to state of art technology. Mahindra M777 facility will also ensure that the life cycle support is available locally thereby enhancing operational availability of the guns," Shukla said.
BAE System said that in 2015, the Company developed and submitted a US government-supported proposal offering a higher degree of indigenisation on the M777 weapon system.
It further said that the selection follows a detailed assessment of Mahindra's ability to fulfil the requirements and provide the best value to the M777 India programme, and in the future, grow its capability as a strategic partner for BAE Systems in India.