Indian engineers working for HCL Technologies and Cyient are crying foul after a media report connected the Boeing 737 Max failure with the outsourcing of software development to the two firms.
According to a report in late June, the software for the Boeing 737 Max was being developed at the same time Boeing was laying off engineers in an effort to slash costs. Boeing opted to outsource the software development to HCL Tech and Cyient, both based in India.
The report contended Boeing faced hurdles when working with the engineers in India, quoting one former flight instrumentation design engineer at Boeing as saying the software engineers met the scope of the project but could have performed better.
Indian Engineers Insulted by Report Claims
The implications in the report didn't sit well with engineers in India, with critics quick to point out that India has many aerospace engineers that are extremely competent. Not to mention Boeing has said it didn't tap engineers from HCL or Cyient to develop the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been blamed for the October Lion Air crash and the March Ethiopian Airlines wreck.
"Blaming outsourcing for failure is not fair and is like blaming the entire ecosystem," Pareekh Jain, founder of Pareekh Consulting, a tech consulting firm told MoneyControl.
HCL said it wasn't associated with the issues with the 737 Max and Cyient called the news article wrong. It said as a company it taps engineers from the best talent pools available, including 1,000 engineers hired in the U.S. Cyient said its engineers are veterans working with aerospace original equipment manufacturers and system providers for several years.
India Tech a Whipping Post
In a tweet in response to the report, Sangeeta Gupta, a member of the IT industry body NASSCOM called the claims "vicious" and lacking any veracity. "Indian tech is the favourite whipping boy for any issue that goes wrong, otherwise it is projected as still being in a labour arbitrage model with no value add. Time for the world to see how the industry has changed," Gupta tweeted.
Despite the blame going around, this isn't the first time Boeing has outsourced tech development to India. IT services companies in the country have worked with Boeing and Airbus for close to twenty years, developing the software for their airplanes.
India has become a hub for the defense industry looking to save money on software development and engineering.