Boeing names former Indian Navy Rear Admiral to head its Defence business in India

A naval aviator, Surendra Ahuja was Asst Controller of Carrier Projects & Warship Acquisitions from 2015 to 2018 and led the India-US Joint Working Group on Carrier Technology

June 25, 2019 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By Boeing India
Rear Admiral Surendra Ahuja (Retd), Boeing's new Top Gun for India

Surendra Ahuja, a former Indian Navy Rear Admiral who was earlier the lead for the India-US Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation has been appointed managing director of Boeing Defence India.

An announcement to this effect was made by the Boeing company on June 25.

A former navy fighter pilot, Ahuja will lead the Boeing campaign for the Indian Air Force procurement programme for 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft. This will be the largest single order for fighter aircraft globally. Boeing will field the F/A-18 Super Hornet. It has already announced a three-way partnership with HAL and Mahindra for pitching this fighter in what will essentially be a re-run of India's aborted tender for 126 Medium Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft.

Ahuja is a former test pilot who has flown 22 types of aircraft. Boeing also made a mention of him being the first Indian naval fighter pilot to fly from a US Navy aircraft carrier.

The Indian Navy too has a requirement for 67 carrier-borne fighters. Boeing’s Super Hornet is operated from all the US Navy aircraft carriers, and was at the forefront of air strikes in all recent American military campaigns

The Indian Navy too has a requirement for 67 carrier-borne fighters. Boeing's Super Hornet is operated from all the US Navy aircraft carriers,and was at the forefront of air strikes in all recent American military campaigns.

Significantly, Rear Admiral Ahuja was the Assistant Controller Carrier Projects & Warship Production and Acquisition at Indian Navy Headquarters from 2015 to 2018. After his early retirement from the Indian Navy in 2018, Ahuja briefly pursued academics in the US where he was apparently headhunted by Boeing.

Ahuja will lead the Boeing campaign for the Indian Air Force procurement programme for 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft. This will be the largest single order for fighter aircraft globally

Rear Admiral Ahuja's appointment comes at a time when the Indian Navy is processing the case for acquiring a fresh lot of 10 Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from the US for an estimated $3 Billion.

"We are thrilled to have Surendra Ahuja join our team," said Torbjorn Sjogren, Vice President, Boeing International (Government and Defence). "His vast experience and capable leadership will allow us to accelerate growth in India and build upon the value we provide to our defence customers," he said in a statement.

He will work closely with Boeing India president Salil Gupte. "We welcome Surendra Ahuja to Boeing India and fully support him to further strengthen our work in the country. I look forward to collaborating with him to deliver enhanced quality and capability to our defence customers," said Gupte.