German firm Atlas Elektronik has won the competition for ATAS (active towed array sonars), which will equip the indigenous Talwar-class ships of the Indian Navy and subsequently be manufactured in India under Bharat Electronics. In an interview to Huma Siddiqui, Atlas Elektronik's India head Khalil Rahman talks about the firm's plans for the country. Edited excerpts:
What opportunities do you see for Atlas Elektronik in India?
We are bidding for major Indian naval programmes, including the new torpedo defence suite (NTDS), which is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) suit, consisting of a sonar, decoy and a fire control system. The bid is for 12 systems and the RfP has been issued. We are also expecting a bid for 16 shallow watercraft. The third bid is for the towed-array sonar for eight-kilo class submarines, which are undergoing upgrade.
Towed sonars are a cost-effective way to strengthen the underwater capabilities of the navy. ATAS will equip the Delhi and Talwar-class ships and will be subsequently manufactured in India under BEL. The first 6 systems will be imported and the next batches will be built in India under a transfer of technology arrangement.
Many multinational firms operating in India are forging JVs with Indian companies. Does this appeal to Atlas Elektronik?
We are talking actively with our Indian partners and are committed to the market; so a JV in some form is inevitable.
Is the company looking for any more programmes with the navy or the Coast Guard?
We are interested in all programmes where our technology has an application. The ASW (anti-submarine warfare) market is a big opportunity for Atlas in India. We are one of the few global players with a complete ASW solution.
The company owns the IP on everything from the tip of the torpedo to the casket. Our plan is to develop an indigenous solution, which enables us to compete in the Indian market.
The Financial express