Boeing Forecasts $15 Billion Indian Defense Bidding

Boeing Co., the second-largest U.S. defense contractor, is in talks on ventures with 40 Indian companies and may bid on $15 billion of military orders there over the next 10 years.

India may become a “very big market,” James Albaugh, who runs Boeing’s military unit, told reporters in New Delhi today. The country is replacing aging Soviet planes and equipment.

“The Soviet era is long over and India is looking at different sources for military purchases,” said Suba Chandran, assistant director at New Delhi-based Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. “That is good news not just for Boeing, it’s good for Raytheon and Lockheed. If you open the nuclear establishment, then there is no issue for defense.”

Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. want to break into India as the U.S. lifts a ban on nuclear exports. The embargo was imposed in 1974, at the height of the cold war. U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed on a deal, and the two countries are conducting joint military exercises.

India in February increased its defense spending for the year ending March 31 to $11.6 billion, or about 15 percent of the country’s budget. Boeing so far is bidding on orders for combat aircraft and cruise missiles.

“Given India’s military requirements and given the growing relationship between India and the U.S., we see exciting opportunities here,” Albaugh said.

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