SOURCE: DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
It seems Indian Air Force is again in the mood for the purchase of another Transport Aircraft that eventually will replace the ageing fleet of Soviet-Era An-32 Short-haul Transporter that was procured in the mid-’80s after recently concluding a deal for the purchase of Airbus C-295M Tactical Transport Aircraft that will be manufactured in the country.
IAF is looking to procure nearly 80 medium-lift military transport aircraft that will replace 118 An-32 Short-haul Transporter and seems to have dropped plans to procure more C-295 that are classified in the same class of aircraft but instead, it has decided to go for a plane with nearly double the cargo carrying capacity then An-32 it intends to replace.
IAF in long term is looking to procure nearly 80-100 medium-lift military transport aircraft and another 30-40 Heavy-lift military transport aircraft that eventually will be needed as the oldest of the IL-76 Heavy-lift military transport aircraft has turned 40 and still suffers from a low availability rate that will shorten their operational life further due to prolonged grounding of the aircraft.
Massive requirements for MTA and HTA do provide the Indian Aviation sector with a Golden opportunity to liberate India’s Strategic airlift capability and its dependence on foreign-manufactured aircraft if both programs are combined and co-developed with the reputed aerospace manufacturer to kill two birds with one stone.
IAF needs a plane that can fit in between C-130J and C-17 with a payload carrying capacity of nearly 30 tons and another that will initially replace the IL-76 fleet and supplement the C-17 fleet that has become globetrotter for the IAF in its mission abroad.
MTA and HTA can be based on the same principal baseline design as C1 and C2 done by Kawasaki in Japan and can be used to further develop a 60-ton payload-carrying aircraft that are both indigenous and meets the requirements also of it domestic aviation market.
Countries with lesser aircraft requirements like Japan have developed their Strategic airlift capability while reducing reliance on imported airlift capability which is often the backbone of all wars and its high time that India decides to take up such projects so that for the next 70 years it has an independent airlift capability.
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