By Rama Prasad
March 21, 2016. Esterline Corporation is a truly global organization with a manufacturing presence in many key countries for the company’s primary markets of aerospace and defense. Several years ago, Esterline recognized the growth potential in the Indian market.
The company has had a physical presence in the region for more than 20 years, starting with sales support and regional customer coverage, eventually growing that to a fully incorporated presence in 2010. In 2011, Esterline had an opportunity to acquire the strategic Souriau connector product line, which had an existing and desirable manufacturing presence in India with two plants—in Cochin and Coimbatore—producing high-end, harsh-environment interconnect products. Since that time, Esterline has continued to further invest in India. Going forward, India is a market that continues to promise business growth and local expertise to help Esterline remain a valuable partner for Indian customers and the Indian economy, and also support the company’s global growth strategy.
In the defense arena, Esterline offers a broad range of products to meet the rugged and specialized needs of military customers. The company is able to bring global experience and advanced solutions to the Indian market with in-country production and support, a somewhat unique offering for Indian customers. The Indian Armed Forces now rely on Esterline for ruggedized, custom-built consoles for ground vehicles. These products are built in India with components sourced from within the country, showing Esterline’s dedication to the important Make in India campaign and the company’s desire to continue a commitment to the Indian marketplace in the future. The same is true on the aerospace side.
Esterline has a host of products in the aviation industry, both in the commercial and defense market segments, with the ability to support, and in some cases produce in India, products for up-and-coming aircraft programs. These products include CMC avionics solutions, Korry control devices, and secure communications through the Racal Acoustics and Palomar brands. Meanwhile, Esterline’s sensor products and advanced materials would find direct application on India’s indigenous fixed- and rotary-wing platforms.
India is already an important part of Esterline’s supply chain for the world market, with several materials sourced in India for products distributed to customers worldwide. Going forward, it is realistic that Esterline could expand current sourcing and manufacturing capabilities in India to include further production of parts not only for India customer consumption, but also for other global customers. Esterline also has plans to grow its captive design center in Bangalore and utilize the large pool of local talent available for building products, both for software and hardware.
Even more importantly, Esterline is a company with the required expertise and experience to be able to scale up in India successfully. Esterline effectively operates and supports growth for factories globally including in Belgium, France, Mexico, Morocco the United States, and several other countries.
The recent changes instituted by the Indian government to open up aviation manufacturing to a broader range of companies offer opportunities to bring in global experience and increased production in India. Esterline is poised to increase the value it delivers to Indian customers and continue growing as both a business partner and an employer in this important market.
The author is the Vice President and Managing Director of Esterline India