indica News Bureau-
Boeing Co. tried to cut costs in the design stage of its 737 Max by turning to Indian-based subcontractors and other coders and software engineers who were paid as little $9 per hour for work on the U.S. planemaker’s beleaguered line of aircraft, according to a Bloomberg report.
Boeing hired Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd., also known as Hindustan Computers Limited, when the American aircraft maker was laying off its own full-time engineers and outsourcing the work, Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer, told Bloomberg.
Although the HCL coders were designing to Boeing specification, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin said, adding “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”
The Max jetliners’ software has been beset with problems that lead to two deadly crashes and have grounded the jets for the foreseeable future as U.S. regulators last week discovered another flaw in the system, according to the report.
According to Bloomberg, hiring Indian contractors may have been instrumental in winning Boeing several orders for Indian military and commercial aircraft, such as a $22 billion one in January 2017 to supply SpiceJet Ltd.
In online resumes and posts, HCL engineers have said they worked on developing and testing Max flight-display software, and employees of another Indian company, Cyient Ltd., worked with software for flight-test equipment, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg reported that Chicago-based Boeing said the company did not rely on engineers from HCL and Cyient for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been linked to the Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March. In addition, Boeing said it didn’t rely on either Indian company for work on a cockpit warning light that wasn’t working for most buyers.
“Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world,” a company spokesman told Bloomberg. “Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations.”
HCL said in a statement that it “has a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company, and we take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL is not associated with any ongoing issues with 737 Max.”
Bloomberg reported that engineers who worked on the Max have complained of pressure from managers to limit changes that might introduce extra time or cost.
“Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here,” Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing flight controls engineer laid off in 2017, told Bloomberg. “All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective. Slowly over time it appears, that’s eroded the ability for Puget Sound designers to design.”
HCL Technologies Ltd, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, is a global Indian IT service and consulting company headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The company has more than 137,000 employees and contractors in 44 countries, including the U.S., working with 250 of the Fortune 500 companies. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, HCL had a consolidated revenue of US $8.6 billion, according to the company website. It is a subsidiary of HCL Enterprise.
Cyient Ltd., headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, and also founded in 1991, is a global engineering and technology company with more than 15,000 employees at 47 locations in 21 countries, including the U.S., according to the company website. It reported US $660 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.