SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
With close to securing the final contract worth $ 2 Billion for it’s C295 medium transport aircraft (MTA) from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), European aerospace major Airbus Military has now offered India its A400M Atlas turboprop military transport aircraft to further boost India’s strategic reach as per industrial sources close to idrw.org.
With Boeing C-17 Globemaster III production line been closed down and IAF been already delivered the 11th C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. IAF still needs more tactical air-lifter with strategic capabilities since 14 IL 76 MD strategic/heavy transport fleet acquired in the early ’80s from the Soviet Union is already aging fast and due to low serviceability issues, Airbus Military thinks A400M is a beautiful complement to C-17 fleet of IAF.
In India, Airbus Military has plans to position the A400M between Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globe masters. Royal Air Force is the only airforce which operates both C-17 Globe masters and A400M in its fleet and IAF will become second air force to operate both tactical air-lifter if decides to buy them too but since IAF is spoiled for choices when it comes to tactical air-lifter on offer to it, A400 will have lot of competition from rivals but due to budget constraints IAF is looking forward to ink contract for C295 MTA soon with Airbus.
India already has walked away from the Indo-Russian Medium transport aircraft (MTA) joint venture set up for the development of a new tactical air-lifter to replace IAF’s aging fleet of An-32 turboprops military transport aircraft. Antonov of Ukraine also has offered its An-132 a new light, multi-purpose transport aircraft which is a modernized variant of the An-32 cargo plane to India under Make in India deal.
Many defense analysts believe that C295 MTA which was procured to replace aging HS 748 AVRO Air-lifter will also be replacing the An-32 fleet due to Make in India component being involved in the deal which makes more sense to order more of the same type then instead go for a new type. C-17 fleet which has a 100% operational availability record in IAF has been criticized by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for use of them in logistical support missions while carrying a lower payload thus being underutilized most of the time below their payload-carrying capability.
Airbus Military thinks that C-295 and then C-130, followed by A400M and C-17 will complement the payload/range capability which IAF might be looking for in the near foreseeable future to rebuilt India’s strategic reach once IAF starts retiring An-32, HS 748 AVRO, and IL-76 Air-lifters from its fleet.
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