Business Sense

Airbus Defence and Space reiterated its commitment to India at TMB-15

A FORCE Report

Seville, Spain: At the recent interaction, where FORCE was amongst 60 journalists worldwide invited to attend the company’s annual Trade Media Briefing (TMB), the head of sales, military aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space, Antonio Rodriguez Barberan acknowledged India as a strategic market.

C-295 maritime patrol aircraft of the Chilean Navy
C-295 maritime patrol aircraft of the Chilean Navy

He confirmed that, “We are talking with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for AWACS programme. It takes time.” The tender for six airborne early warning and control system aircraft was issued in March 2014. If the contract is signed for the A330 as the platform for Indian AWACS, which is expected, it would be the first instance of this type aircraft being used by DRDO.

On India’s defence acquisition committee having cleared the partnership between Airbus Defence and Space with the private sector Tata Advanced Systems (TAS) to acquire 56 C-295 twin turboprop to replace Avro 748Ms of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Antonio said that “we gave an aggressive proposal and are now going through the technical issues.” The contract expected to be signed within two years has a 50 per cent offset requirement.

Fernando AlonsoOn Indian Navy’s Request For Proposal (RFP) for the medium range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) programme, Antonio said, “We are working with the Indian Navy under the ‘Make in India’ policy and we will be able to give a good proposal.” However, the company spokesperson clarified that Airbus Defence and Space did not respond to the Indian Navy’s RFP as the requirement was for a turbofan engine. C-295 has turboprop engine.

C-295, which is the market leader in the category of medium military transport, will soon have three innovative technologies. First, the aircraft will be geared for XTOL (extreme take-off and landing) operations to improve its tactical capabilities in war-like operations. According to head of engineering, technology and innovation, Miguel Morell, “There could be special missions in war where only a small runway is available to fly away fast.” The runway could be less than 500 metres. XTOL involves an aggressive optimisation of flaps utilisation and flight-testing and Certificate of Military operations in line with the approved operations for A400 aircraft. This would bring take-off ease from same runway for the two aircraft.

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