U.S. aerospace industry eyes Indian deals

U.S. aerospace and defense industry executives said on Tuesday they were encouraged by a recent trade mission to India, a huge emerging market for commercial and military equipment in coming years.

The Aerospace Industries Association, which represents top U.S. defense and aerospace companies, said the trip included officials from five prime contractors including Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., and United Technologies Corp., as well as 13 smaller suppliers.

Indian officials appeared increasingly open to the prospect of buying U.S. equipment, although they remained concerned about export control issues, Mark Esper, AIA executive vice president, told reporters.

Failure by the U.S. government to speed up licensing of exports could set back efforts to expand U.S.-Indian defense ties, he said. He said AIA was working closely with the Bush administration on the issue.

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