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Embraer Signs Pact with Mahindra, Bids for $3 Billion Indian Air Force Deal to Replace Russian Transports

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Transport missions are performed primarily by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a sizable fleet of Ilyushin Il-76 (17 units) and Antonov An-32 (103 units), with only a few C-130J Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft present. Nonetheless, these Russian aircraft have outlived their usefulness. To replace them, the IAF has thus initiated the Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) programme.

A Request for Information (RFI) has been sent to numerous manufacturers. According to the RFI, the IAF is looking for a transport aircraft capable of hauling 18 to 30 tonnes of cargo. Furthermore, this process could result in the acquisition of 80 aircraft.

Airbus said in July that it had answered the RFI by proposing the A400M. One of its officials told The Hindu that this aircraft can transport crucial equipment directly where it is most needed, on small, uneven landing strips, where IL-76 and C-17 cannot land.

This is critical since one of the MTA project’s goals is to improve Indian forces’ capacity to quickly transport 25-ton armoured vehicles to the Ladakh region, where tensions with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are high.

However, Airbus isn’t the only contender. Lockheed-Martin also responded to the RFI by proposing extra C-130J Hercules. Similarly, the Brazilian firm Embraer replied by introducing the C-390 Millennium. It has already had great export success, having been picked by Portugal, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria, and, more recently, South Korea. They’re not stopping there.

Having already served the IAF (with three airborne early warning aircraft and four Heritage 600s for VIP transport), Embraer prepared for the MTA programme by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Indian group Mahindra on February 9th.

India has a broad and robust defence and aerospace industry, and Embraer Defence & Security CEO Bosco da Costa Junior revealed that the company has chosen Mahindra as a partner to pursue the MTA programme together. He also stated that India is a significant market for Embraer, and the firm fully supports its goals for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ [Self-sufficient India]. He noted that the company sees this alliance as a symbol of increasing relations between Brazil and India and a way to boost cooperation among Southern countries.

On the other hand, Vinod Sahay, director of the Aerospace and Defense division at Mahindra, estimated that this partnership would strengthen the operational capabilities of the IAF and also provide an efficient industrialization solution perfectly aligned with the objectives of the ‘Make in India’ policy.

As a reminder, the C-390, powered by two IAE V2500 turbofans, can transport 20 to 25 tonnes of cargo over a distance of 2815 kilometres at a maximum cruise speed of 850 kilometres per hour. The Dutch Ministry of Defence explained its decision by noting that four aircraft would meet the minimum requirement of 2400 flying hours, while five C-130J aircraft would be required for the same reason.

Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Networkhttps://frontierindia.com/briefs
Frontier India News Network is the in-house news collection and distribution agency.

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