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Venkat Katkuri, the head of Airbus’ defence and space vertical for India & South Asia, has confirmed that Airbus has actively responded to India’s Air Force (IAF) Request for Information (RFI) for the acquisition of 60-80 Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) to serve as Medium Haul Transporters. The IAF is seeking modern and versatile aircraft to replace its Soviet-origin AN-32s and bolster its transport capabilities.

In the competitive bid, Airbus has offered its state-of-the-art A400M aircraft, designed to cater to the IAF’s medium transport requirements. Additionally, Lockheed Martin has also submitted its response, proposing the C-130J Super Hercules, while Embraer has offered its C-390 Millennium for consideration.

Venkat Katkuri has been pivotal in Airbus’ previous successes, notably securing a deal for the C-295M Transport aircraft in the Light Weight Transport Category. He emphasized that Airbus is open to the possibility of producing the A400M in India, contingent on viable order numbers. If the IAF agrees to procure 80 MTA aircraft in a single order, Airbus is willing to explore local production options to boost India’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities.

The Airbus A400M is a highly capable aircraft capable of carrying cargo up to 37 tons, placing it in the same category as the IAF’s current IL-76 Transporter. The IAF’s RFI initially requested aircraft with cargo payloads ranging from 18 to 30 tons, aiming to replace the ageing AN-32 fleet. While the C-295M also falls within this category and will be manufactured in India, Katkuri suggests that additional C-295M aircraft could be a viable option for the IAF, given their existing experience with the model.

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