(On Avro replacement programme) it is Essential That All Parties Sign Crystal-Clear Agreements and that Joint Activities and Contracts that are Eventually Agreed are Realistic
VP Defence Capability Marketing, Airbus Defence and Space, Ian Elliott
Ian Elliott How are the contract negotiations progressing for the A330MRTT programme? When do you expect the deal to be signed? Have you started discussing the price already?
The contractual negotiations, including all financial aspects, are in the very final stages and naturally we hope to finalise the agreement as soon as possible. The talks are proceeding smoothly and we are responding to remaining requests from the Indian Air Force with the intention to bringing matters to a mutually successful conclusion in the near future.

Did the contract negotiations also involve the details for additional six A330MRTT?
At this stage the negotiations cover only six aircraft.

What is the status of Avro replacement programme? Have you responded to the RFP? How hopeful are you about winning this contract?
We will respond to the RFP in the coming weeks and it will be up to the defence ministry to define the schedule after that. As we have consistently said, we believe that the Airbus C295 is an excellent match for the IAF requirement, providing a vastly higher level of performance than the Avro fleet while also ensuring outstanding cost-efficiency. Indeed during the information gathering phase of the proposed procurement, we have further enhanced the C295 by launching a programme to add winglets, which will be certified later this year, and already certifying the use of increased engine power settings — both of which improve the type’s hot and high performance, as well as providing an increase safety margin in mountainous terrain. So we feel quite confident of offering a very attractive proposal to India.

We now know that the Indian Production Agency (IPA) for the Avro replacement will be a private sector company. How do you view this decision? Have you also started looking for partnerships?
The important point is that we have found a very positive response from the private sector when we investigated the capabilities of the various companies. As a result, we are confident that we will be able to offer a robust plan to the Indian government that will fully address our offset obligations in line with whatever regulations are applied. We are extremely conscious of India’s objectives in that regard and as a business unit of Airbus Group we have a strong track record of fulfilling offset requirements in a way that truly benefits the aspirations of developing aerospace companies. All that said, it is essential that all parties sign up to crystal-clear agreements and that joint activities and contracts that are eventually agreed are realistic.

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