A Brush with Technology
Three long-distance horses from Airbus Military’s stable

C295 A strong contender for the AVRO replacement programme for which RFP has been issued
C295 A strong contender for the AVRO replacement programme for which RFP has been issued

Sevilla, Spain: Airbus Military (AM) of the EADS group has three of its five aircraft products lined up for lucrative business with India. The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft has been selected by the Indian Air Force, the C-295 aircraft and probably its improved version, the C-295W aircraft is a strong contender for replacement of the aged Avro aircraft, and the new A400M which can carry 37 tons, dubbed the aircraft for the 21st century, will certainly be watched closely by the IAF.

For these reasons, the annual Trade Media Briefing (TMB-13) held in Sevilla on May 29 and 30, was a keenly awaited invitation. The AM’s San Pablo factory in Sevilla has the complete production and final assembly lines of C-212, CN-235 and C-295 and well as the final assembly line of A400M set up in 2007. FORCE was amongst over 65 journalists from 20 countries who participated in the two-day event. The extremely well-organised TMB-13 comprised briefings, visits to production lines, and an exciting flying experience in A400M, two of which later participated in the Paris Air Show held in mid-June.

AM was formally created in April 2009, following the integration of the former Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTAD) and Airbus Military Sociedad Limitada (AMSL) into Airbus. This integration allows for a single and streamlined organisation. Airbus Military has its own P&L accounting, and employs more than 5,000 people.

Replying to a question by FORCE, AM’s Rafael Tentor, head of programmes light and medium and derivatives, said that: ‘All documentation for six A330 MRTT selected by the IAF had been completed. The matter now rests with the Indian government and we hope to sign the contract by the end of 2013.’ He confirmed the possibility of India buying six more A330 MRTT as a follow-on order.

To another question, Tentor disclosed that AM’s C-295 would be offered for the 56 Avro replacement programme (days later, at the Paris Air Show, AM representative confirmed having received the RFP for the Avro replacement programme from the Indian defence ministry). When asked if mere 56 aircraft justified setting up of the C-295 aircraft production line in India, Tentor replied in the affirmative.

“As EADS already has good commercial foot-prints in India, in an incremental way, a C-295 assembly line and a full supply chain could be set up if AM gets the Avro replacement contract,” he said.

Moreover, “56 aircraft cannot be the end of the story. We are sure that there will be more opportunities in India. If our C-295 is successful, we could even think of exports from India into the future,” said Tentor, confirming that AM was in talks with Indian companies including the newly set-up Reliance aerospace for the Avro replacement programme. “We could transfer up to 60 per cent C-295 content to the Indian partner,” he said.
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