Defence Industry

Northrop supports broadening of technology transfer
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Issue Vol 26.1 Jan-Mar 2011 | Date : 09 Feb , 2011

Interview with William J Schaefer, Sector Vice President, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

Could you please outline the global profile of the company and briefly describe the history of its growth and evolution?

Today’s Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. With five operating sectors – Aerospace Systems, Electronic Systems, Information Systems, Technical Services and Shipbuilding – Northrop Grumman is well positioned to provide near- and long-term solutions that meet a nation’s needs.

Northrop Grumman is proud of the successful relationships it has built, and continues to build, around the world. A key element of Northrop Grumman’s growth is its commitment to the international marketplace. The company has a range of industry-leading capabilities available for international markets and sells products and services to customers in 25 nations.

Your products span a wide area of defence technologies including military aviation, the maritime regime and space. In which of these areas do you claim to have global leadership?

Northrop Grumman has an industry-leading range of capabilities in Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR) including airborne early warning and control systems for maritime reconnaissance, fire control radars and unmanned aerial vehicles. ISR systems are critical to effective homeland security and our leadership in multiple-domain ISR strongly position Northrop Grumman to help create solutions for India’s coordinated national defence structure

How do you perceive the business potential of the Indian market for defence hardware?

Northrop Grumman strongly and actively supports the “strategic partnership” enunciated by the President during his recent to India and the amplifying statement by Secretary of Commerce Locke during the run-up to Aero India. We have responded to a number of formal requests for information for some of the most advanced defense systems we make or are in the process of doing so. While realizing that the Indian market is and will continue to be highly competitive, we are confident that given the strong support of the US Government already evident, we can compete successfully.

What is Northrop Grumman’s business strategy in the region in general and with India in particular? What is the current level of penetration into the Indian market and the specific projects the company is engaged in?

Northrop Grumman’s strong relationship with India goes back many decades and is built on a legacy of trust and of performance. Our desire is to continue this relationship as we continue to seek opportunities where we are mutually benefited. While we have been in dialogue with the Indian Government and the armed services for a number of years, the focus is currently on our most advanced products. Bringing these opportunities to fruition will take some time.

What is Northrop Grumman’s assessment of the impact on the business prospects of the company after President Obama’s recent visit to India especially with regard to unrestricted transfer of technology classified as advanced, sensitive and dual use?

We share the enthusiasm generated by the President’s visit both in the US and in India and enthusiastically support the enunciated broadening of technology transfer. We would caution on the use of the word “unrestricted”. There will always be some constraints on the release of technology, if for no other reason than the protection of intellectual property rights in a free market context.

There is a school of thought that space will be the battleground in the future. Does Northrop Grumman subscribe to this view and if so, is the company pursuing R&D to meet the requirements of space warfare in the future?

Northrop Grumman prides itself on its capabilities from the surface to space to cyberspace and is comfortable competing in all these environments. Our focus in the area of “space” however, concentrates on the peaceful use of the infinite. We firmly believe that our emphasis on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, though vital to the national security equation tends to reduce the possibility of conflict as much as it might respond to it.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Bharat Verma

A former Cavalry Officer and former Editor, Indian Defence Review (IDR), and author of the books, India Under Fire: Essays on National Security, Fault Lines and Indian Armed Forces.

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