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L&T forms venture with Cassidian

Special Correspondent
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To focus on electronic warfare systems

DEFENCE APPLICATIONS: V. Kotwal (left), Board Member, L&T, and Bernd Wenzler, CEO, Cassidian Electronics, at a press conference in Bangalore on Thursday. — PHOTO: G. R. N. SOMASHEKAR
DEFENCE APPLICATIONS: V. Kotwal (left), Board Member, L&T, and Bernd Wenzler, CEO, Cassidian Electronics, at a press conference in Bangalore on Thursday. — PHOTO: G. R. N. SOMASHEKAR

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Cassidian, the recently renamed division of EADS, the European defence and aerospace conglomerate, announced the formation of a joint venture to address the Indian defence market on Thursday.

Addressing the media in Bangalore, M. V. Kotwal, L&T board member and President, Heavy Engineering, said the new company in which L&T would hold 74 per cent, would focus on electronic warfare systems, radars, avionics and mobile systems such as bridges for military applications. Mr. Kotwal said the new venture aimed to reach volumes of $0.5-1 billion within the next ten years. The 30-acre manufacturing base in Talegaon, 100 km from Mumbai, would integrate assemblies for defence production. Asked if the company is targeting the defence offset business, Mr. Kotwal said, “Our strategy is not built on the logic of offsets.”

Bernd Wenzler, CEO, Cassidian Electronics, said his company was “already providing consultancy services to the Indian military.”

Mr. Kotwal said L&T had been working in close cooperation with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on several projects.

About the orders for the Pinaka, the multibarrel rocket launcher, a senior L&T official said, “A gigantic number of orders from the military are in the pipeline.”

Mr. Wenzler told The Hindu that although Cassidian's limited stake of 26 per “may limit technology infusion”, this might be scaled up later if and when the policy regime allowed a higher FDI stake in defence-related ventures. He said C-band radar technologies from Germany were likely to be inducted.

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