Global aerospace giant Lockheed Martin plans to set up an engineering lab to enhance its research and innovation support in India.
The multi-billion dollar US firm, which has delivered a dozen C-130 cargo aircraft, is also keen to offer helicopters and F-35 aircraft to the Indian Air Force.
Through a joint venture with the Tatas, Lockheed Martin has brought manufacturing of the important tail section of the C-130 Hercules aircraft to its facilities in Adibatla on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
“We have plans to fabricate more components of the cargo aircraft from Hyderabad and integrate them in the US as well,” said Lorraine M Martin, Deputy Vice-President (Rotary and Mission Systems).
Similarly, through the second JV with the Tatas, which makes cabin products for the S-92 Sikorsky helicopter, the company is looking to increase the number of components made here in the near future.
Also, the company is in talks for selling its latest helicopters, which have strategic and utility services capabilities.
The expansion in the two units in Hyderabad will generate at least 70 more jobs next year. At present, the total strength here is around 1,000, with women comprising just 5 per cent.
The opportunities through ‘Make in India’ and the country’s big defence projects could see the company play a bigger role in future, Lorraine told a group of media persons.
WOMEN FOCUS :::
Lorraine said the objective is to substantially raise the percentage of women employees in India. But, the “Factory Act” and other labour laws are limiting the chances for women to be employed beyond certain timings and shopfloor conditions, she said.
Globally, Lockheed Martin employs 97,000, of whom, around 24 per cent are women. However, at the leadership level the number is quite small, said Lorraine, who in her 30-year career has held several important roles.
“Having worked in the US Armed Forces before joining Lockheed, my role in bringing and delivering the C-130 aircraft to India at the Hindon Air Base near Delhi in 2011 was a high point,” she recalled.
Being the only women in boardroom and other top meetings of the company for years, she said: “Packaging does not matter. One should have a voice, bring value to the discussions and prove one’s mettle to be counted.”
However, she felt that in some of the hi-tech areas, the men folk need to mentor young women who take up this career.
India, she said, offers tremendous scope for research tie-ups, and prospects for setting up an engineering lab are high.
Outside of the US, Lockheed Martin has such labs in Australia, the UK and Canada.
Lorraine is also championing the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives of the company.
By: The Hindu Business Line
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