Posted on: November 04, 2011
The Indian Air Force has shortlisted five foreign transport aircraft in the weight-class of six to eight tonnes to replace its fleet of Avro aircraft under a three billion dollar project to induct 60 new planes.
"We have shortlisted five existing aircraft to replace the Avro. This includes the Russian, Ukrainian and European companies who are producing transport planes in this class," highly-placed IAF sources told Defencenow.com.
The companies in the fray include Russian Ilyushin, Ukrainian Antonov, European EADS Casa C-295 and Italian Alenia C-27J Spartan.
The vendor finally chosen by the IAF will be then asked to work with private industry consortium which is likely to be headed by the Tata Group.
As part of our efforts, we will now release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the next few months after the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approval and then choose the lowest bidder for the unique project, they told defencenow.com.
As per IAF plans, the twin-engine aircraft is planned to have a six to eight tonne payload capacity, cruise speed of 800 kilometers per hour range of 2,500 kilometers to 2,700 kilometers and should be ready before the end of 12th Plan.
The IAF is keen to exploit the Indian private industry for the programme to replace aging Avro aircraft and has sought Defence Ministry's nod for the replacement.
As per the plan, the first 16 aircraft would be produced by the OEM and the remaining would be license-produced by the consortium of private Indian industries with the help of IAF.