After buying 56 C-295MW aircraft from Airbus to replace its ageing fleet of Avro-748 planes, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has released a request for information (RFI) for procurement of medium transport aircraft (MTA) with a payload of 18-30 tonnes to find a replacement for its Soviet origin AN-32s.
The RFI has asked the vendors to provide a rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost of aircraft and associated equipment for a batch of 40/60/80 aircraft. It also envisages the delivery of the aircraft to commence within 36 months of contract signing.
The IAF has around 100 An-32s, 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules and 17 Il-76 and 11 C-17 in its transport fleet. An-32 can carry a payload of 7 tonnes while C-130J-30 can carry up to 20 tonnes.
The C-17s and IL-76 are heavy and super heavy category transport aircraft, which can lift payloads of 45 to 70 tonnes.
Sources say that these MTAs will plug the gap of the medium category transport aircraft (18-30 tonnes) in the IAF's inventory.
IAF's earlier attempts to get an MTA category aircraft ended in failure when the deal to co-design and co-manufacture 20-tonnes payload aircraft with Russia got cancelled.
IAF just last year signed a to manufacture 56 C-295MW aircraft at a facility in Gujarat. These aircraft will be produced in Vadodara by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) under a contract worth Rs 21,935 crore.
The IAF, in line with the Make-In-India movement, has asked the vendors in the RFI to establish a dedicated manufacturing line in India.
“Methods to enhance indigenisation and to set up a dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes in India, either through its own subsidiary or in a joint venture,” the RFI says.
The IAF has also asked the vendors whether a medium, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility can be established to manufacture spare parts for the aircraft in India.
Vendors are also to specify the capability to provide maintenance infrastructure, and to set up an ecosystem of indigenous vendors and manufacturers for the sustenance of the platform and also indicate the feasibility of using indigenous military materials and raw materials already being manufactured in the country, the RFI added.
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