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Thales-Reliance JV For India-Specific Capabilities

CHENNAI: French defence firm Thales joint venture with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd to integrate India-specific capabilities for 36 Rafale jet fighters and maintain radars and manufacture high-performance airborne electronics, will be operational by the end of this year.Emmanuel De Roquefeuil, vice-president and country director, India, told reporters that the Letter of Intent has been signed and the joint venture will be set up by the end of 2018.

This comes after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the formation of joint venture between Reliance and Thales India Pvt Ltd.The JV is to develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain Radar and Electronic Warfare sensors. The JV will develop skills and activity in the Special Economic Zone of Mihan-Nagpur together with an Indian supply chain for the manufacturing of microwave technologies and high-performance airborne electronics.Roquefeuil said it has also entered into two agreements with Kanpur-based MKU Limited for strategic co-operation in the development and production of optronic devices and F90 close quarter battle (CQB) rifle for soldiers. 

The optronic devices will be co-developed by Thales and MKU and both the optronic devices and F90 rifles will be manufactured in India at MKU’s facilities in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The F90, one of the lightest assault rifles on the market at 3.25 kg, enabling fast reaction times and rapid target acquisition, is currently manufactured in Australia. The rifle was introduced at the Eurosatory International Land and Air-Land Defence and Security Exhibition in Paris, France, in June 2012.

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