SP’s ShowNews (SP’s): ShinMaywa is a very recent entrant into the Indian aerospace segment. Can you brief us the historical background of the company and its relevance in India?
||Cmdre (Retd) Sujeet Samaddar
Chief Executive Officer, ShinMaywa Industries India Private Limited
Commodore (Retd) Sujeet Samaddar (Samaddar): About 90 years ago, ShinMaywa Industries began its business operations as the Kawanishi Machinery Company when the Kawanishi Type 1 amphibian aircraft was manufactured for Japan Self Defense Force. It was a leading aircraft manufacturer for many decades. After World War II, the company utilised its expertise in the aerospace segment to diversify into special purpose trucks, industrial machinery for many customers. Later, the company was renamed ShinMaywa Industries Ltd (ShinMaywa means, New, Bright, and Harmony) and expanded its business to once again start manufacturing seaplane. Since then our product range has expanded to include passenger boarding bridges, environmental systems, pumps, direct drive motors, automated car parking systems, etc. We now have customer network in over 100 countries with overseas manufacturing plants in five countries. ShinMaywa has recorded sales of about $1.3 billion last year. ShinMaywa is committed to substantial contribution in the social sector and upliftment of weaker sections of the society. Our corporate policies attach great importance and priority to safety and quality standards, work ethics, efficient production delivery schedules and costs in all its operations. The company has supplied about 50 seaplanes to the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). Its latest product is the US-2, which is in operational service with the JMSDF.
SP’s: What are the reasons for ShinMaywa to plant its footprint in India?
Samaddar: Since its independence, Japan has maintained very cordial and friendly relationship with India. We truly value the relationship with India. India was the only country that signed a separate peace treaty with Japan and waived off all war claims. Japan has significantly participated in India’s efforts in major infrastructure development and revolutionising/revitalising industrial base/facilities/infrastructure. Under bilateral agreements there are several state-of-the-art projects most successfully executed, across India. The year 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with India. In this context it was appropriate for ShinMaywa to also to share its domain expertise and skills with our trusted friends.
SP’s: What is the India vision of ShinMaywa, specially relating to the defence sector?
Samaddar: Encouraged by the sustained bilateral relationships between our two countries, ShinMaywa has also decided to share its proven technology for the ongoing modernisation of Indian defence forces. It has been brought out that ShinMaywa’s advanced platforms and technologies have served the JMSDF extremely well over the past several decades. In fact ShinMaywa has taken first baby steps towards possible cooperation in defence sector and its participation in Defexpo 2012 should be viewed in this perspective. We are really overwhelmed with the response that we have received and it is clear to us that the Indian people have great trust in Japan and its work culture, technologies and unique products. We see our high-end technology products not only as a sale to India but a step towards elevating our relationship further through sharing such unique technology for the good of Indian defence sector.
SP's: What technology and platform you have lined up for the Indian Navy and in what ways those products could blend with Indian Navy’s ongoing modernisation plans?
Samaddar: We have offered US-2, a tried and tested amphibian which has served the JMSDF well, to Indian Navy. Important characteristics of this amphibian includes capability of landing on and take-off from the outer sea. We have learnt that the Indian Navy has in its modernisation plans to build up capabilities and augment resources for a credible apparatus for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HAND) and logistics support missions to its widely dispersed Island territories on either sides of the Indian peninsula. Our internal evaluation has revealed that modernised and upgraded US-2 ideally fits the bill. We believe that this aircraft is really the best and second to none in its category. Its huge capabilities can play a major part in enhancing India’s role in the region using cutting edge Japanese technology for the good of society. It can carry out a variety of missions ranging from constabulary, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and logistic support missions. Accordingly, we have offered the same US-2 to the Indian Navy.
SP’s: How do you see ShinMaywa growing as a business venture in India? Will you be focusing only on the US-2 or some other innovative products also for the Indian market?
Samaddar: ShinMaywa is really not a new entrant to India as it began operations almost 20 years ago. We already are a supplier of passenger boarding bridges and wire terminating machines to Indian customers. We have now responded to the Indian Navy’s request for information (RFI) for amphibian aircraft. We also have regular inquiries for our other engineering products and environment systems. Therefore, we are here in India for the long term, and we will grow our business operations in a calibrated and systematic manner which will best contribute to the needs of the Indian Navy as well as other customers in India.
SP’s: In what way is the US-2 different from other amphibian aircraft?
Samaddar: The short take-off and landing (STOL) technology based on boundary layer control (BLC) which allows ultra-low speed operations and introduction of spray suppressor technology which enables operation in rough seas against waves of up to three-metre high, which no other aircraft has achieved, so far. It also requires the least take-off and landing distance whether on land or sea, the longest range, the highest payload and is the only aircraft in its class which is proven, in-service and certified/ruggedised for military specifications. Its radar system combines both weather and surface surveillance. The US-2 on offer to Indian Navy uses the same class of engines which are installed on the C130J Super Hercules. I think we have a very good product for our global and strategic partner—India. I also see the US-2 as a very good vehicle to implement the vision of our two countries to build a solid partnership between India and Japan. The US-2 is the best way to begin this partnership since this aircraft benefits a larger world community and would rightly fit into India’s growing responsibilities.
SP’s: What is the merit that US-2 brings?
Samaddar: With US-2, which is the only aircraft that can land on rough water, India can cover the Indian Ocean throughout the year. The STOL capability of US-2 enables Indian Navy execute the search and rescue operation and also the landing on and taking off from some lakes and rivers that have enough depth for the operation. The operation area of the aircraft will be drastically extended.
SP’s: What are your business expansion plans for the Indian market? Where do you see ShinMaywa Industries in India 10 years down the line?
Samaddar: Ten years is not such a long time. Our focus is to first introduce the US-2 in the Indian Navy. Our other products are also of unmatched quality and use very powerful modern technologies. We expect that the Indian market will accept our products for their high quality and high technology. Not only the “buyer-seller” relationship for just selling state-of-the-art product but also the service and maintenance of US-2 will be provided from us as long as it flies in India and that will bring new technology for the Indian industries. Our intention is to be in India for the long term and we will expand our operations in a calibrated manner.