Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) for IAF

Fatalis

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Sep 30, 2022
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The Indian Air Force, which is looking to procure Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA), is carrying out a comprehensive study to identify the current and future payload-carrying requirements of the force. It has already issued a Request For Information (RFI) to global manufacturers for aircraft with load-carrying capacity between 18 to 30 tonnes. The 2020 stand-off with China in Eastern Ladakh has changed the nature of airlift and support for the Army required in high-altitude areas, two officials independently stated.

“There is a need to identify the current payload-carrying capacity. IAF is also in discussions with vendors. The study is ongoing and should take about six months to be completed,” an official source said. This comes as several of the legacy transport fleets are in need of replacement. The exact requirements of the MTA would be finalised based on the outcome of the study, the source stated.

The RFI for a MTA was issued in December 2022 and the deadline to respond was extended till March 31, 2023. There are three responses to the RFI, officials confirmed. These include Airbus A-400M, Lockheed Martin C-130, and Embraer C-390. Among them, the A-400M has a maximum carrying capacity of 37 tonnes, the C-130 close to 20 tonnes, and the C-390 up to 26 tonnes.

The MTA could become a potential replacement for a part of the much smaller AN-32s in service and could also replace the larger IL-76, which is also being looked into. For instance, from the experiences of the stand-off, the Army is looking to procure a light tank weighing up to 25 tonnes for deployment in the mountains especially in Eastern Ladakh. So, IAF needs sizeable number of aircraft to airlift them and the MTA with the requisite load capacity can cater to that, several officials noted. There is a huge gap in carrying capacities at the moment with the current aircraft which needs to adjusted, one of the officials said.

The transport fleet of the IAF currently consists of over 100 AN-32s, AVROs, IL-76 heavy transporters, IL-78 mid-air refuelling tankers from Russia, as well as 12 C-130J Super Hercules and 11 C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft from the U.S. Of these, the IL-76 has a capacity to lift 45-50 tonnes and the C-17 up to 70 tonnes.

In September 2021, the Defence Ministry signed a ₹21,935-crore contract with Airbus and Space S.A., Spain, for procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft to replace the AVRO aircraft in service which is being executed in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and a Final Assembly Line is being set up in Vadodara, Gujarat, as part of the deal. The first C-295 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to IAF in September.The C-295 has a capacity of nine tonnes and can carry up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers. Part of the AN-32 fleet could be replaced with C-295s which are of similar category, officials stated.

While the RFI did not specify the number of MTA required, vendors have been asked to provide “Rough Order of Magnitude [ROM] cost of aircraft and associated equipment” for a batch of 40, 60, and 80 aircraft. On this, officials said the number required is being assessed and the study will bring out the number required.
 
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The Indian Air Force, which is looking to procure Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA), is carrying out a comprehensive study to identify the current and future payload-carrying requirements of the force. It has already issued a Request For Information (RFI) to global manufacturers for aircraft with load-carrying capacity between 18 to 30 tonnes. The 2020 stand-off with China in Eastern Ladakh has changed the nature of airlift and support for the Army required in high-altitude areas, two officials independently stated.

“There is a need to identify the current payload-carrying capacity. IAF is also in discussions with vendors. The study is ongoing and should take about six months to be completed,” an official source said. This comes as several of the legacy transport fleets are in need of replacement. The exact requirements of the MTA would be finalised based on the outcome of the study, the source stated.

The RFI for a MTA was issued in December 2022 and the deadline to respond was extended till March 31, 2023. There are three responses to the RFI, officials confirmed. These include Airbus A-400M, Lockheed Martin C-130, and Embraer C-390. Among them, the A-400M has a maximum carrying capacity of 37 tonnes, the C-130 close to 20 tonnes, and the C-390 up to 26 tonnes.

The MTA could become a potential replacement for a part of the much smaller AN-32s in service and could also replace the larger IL-76, which is also being looked into. For instance, from the experiences of the stand-off, the Army is looking to procure a light tank weighing up to 25 tonnes for deployment in the mountains especially in Eastern Ladakh. So, IAF needs sizeable number of aircraft to airlift them and the MTA with the requisite load capacity can cater to that, several officials noted. There is a huge gap in carrying capacities at the moment with the current aircraft which needs to adjusted, one of the officials said.

The transport fleet of the IAF currently consists of over 100 AN-32s, AVROs, IL-76 heavy transporters, IL-78 mid-air refuelling tankers from Russia, as well as 12 C-130J Super Hercules and 11 C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft from the U.S. Of these, the IL-76 has a capacity to lift 45-50 tonnes and the C-17 up to 70 tonnes.

In September 2021, the Defence Ministry signed a ₹21,935-crore contract with Airbus and Space S.A., Spain, for procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft to replace the AVRO aircraft in service which is being executed in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and a Final Assembly Line is being set up in Vadodara, Gujarat, as part of the deal. The first C-295 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to IAF in September.The C-295 has a capacity of nine tonnes and can carry up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers. Part of the AN-32 fleet could be replaced with C-295s which are of similar category, officials stated.

While the RFI did not specify the number of MTA required, vendors have been asked to provide “Rough Order of Magnitude [ROM] cost of aircraft and associated equipment” for a batch of 40, 60, and 80 aircraft. On this, officials said the number required is being assessed and the study will bring out the number required.
If they are planning to do a study for future capability then I think the cap of 30 ton payload limit will be lifted and make way for A400M as it looks like MTA will not only replace the An-32 but also the Il-76.
 
(theprint, aug.28)

Brazil's Embraer eyes big transport aircraft deal with Indian Air Force, in touch with HAL

IAF wants 40-80 medium transport aircraft of 18-27 tonne capacity under Make in India route. The CEO of Embraer Defense and Security says that he is also considering setting up an assembly line in India.

New Delhi: Brazilian aviation company Embraer is in talks with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and private companies as it seeks to answer the Indian Air Force's requirement for 40-80 medium transport aircraft (MTAs). Is preparing the pitch, which will eventually replace AN32 and even IL76.​
Joao Bosco Costa Jr., President and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, told reporters on Monday, “Our C-390 Millennium is the perfect aircraft to meet India's requirements. We are looking at not only selling the aircraft, but also setting up an assembly line in India, an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) apart from a training centre.”​
Bosco, who is on a visit to India to meet senior Air Force officials, said, "We are in talks with state-run HAL and private companies as we are looking at who can be our partner in India."​
Embraer is interested in the MTA programme, for which it has responded to a request for information (RFI) issued by the Indian Air Force in December last year, along with two other companies - Lockheed Martin of the US and European major Airbus.​
According to the RFI, the Indian Air Force is interested in a medium transport aircraft with a payload capacity of 18-27 tonnes. The IAF had sought a rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost of the aircraft and associated equipment for batches of 40, 60 and 80 aircraft.​
In its RFI, the IAF has given its views on the scope of technology transfer from companies, ways to enhance indigenization, the ability to ensure indigenous manufacturing of systems, subsystems, components and spares and make India a regional or global hub for MRO. Asked to send information.​
The MTA was originally a joint Indo-Russian project, but New Delhi pulled it out a few years ago.​
The two countries had signed an agreement for co-development of the aircraft in 2012, under which India would buy 45 aircraft while Russia would buy around 100 aircraft. However, the deal was called off in 2016 after the two countries failed to reach an agreement regarding the engine and design of the aircraft.​
Denis Manturov, the then Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, told Russian media in 2016, “In practice, not all projects produce results. During the execution of the project, which lasted five years, we were not able to find a solution that would be beneficial to both countries.”​

Which planes are in dispute at the MTA​

Lockheed Martin has deployed the C-130, of which 12 are already in service with the Indian Air Force. The 20-tonne aircraft has been kept for special operations and has made a record landing at Daulat Beg Oldi in eastern Ladakh at an altitude of about 16,700 feet.​
Airbus has deployed the A-400M which has a lifting capacity of 36 tonnes, which is far more than the IAF's demand.​
Costa said, “The competition has great aircraft, but the C-390 has the latest technology, multi-mission capability, operational flexibility and low operating costs – all of which give it an advantage over the competition. The C-390 will bring more value to the Indian Air Force. ,​
While Lockheed and Airbus' C-295 aircraft, the first of which will be delivered next month, have a deep defense history with India, Embraer has a relatively small footprint in the country.​
The Brazilian aerospace company has so far supplied eight jets to India for VVIP travel and for use as airborne early warning and control aircraft. All the rest are in the civil sector.​
Costa said Embraer is considering all options and will do whatever is necessary, including technology transfer, to win the deal. "The Brazilian government is fully involved in this program and will extend everything necessary," he added.​
The Embraer boss underlined that the company is looking at manufacturing the aircraft in India, not just for the Indian Air Force but for the entire region.​
Giving a break-up, he said that there is a potential market for around 300 aircraft in Asia and the Middle East, a demand that can be met from Embraer's Indian manufacturing plant. /googletrad
 

This is a very confusing answer from the Air Chief. The question is about replacing MTA, but the answer is given in the direction of replacing Il-76.

This could mean that they may indeed (partially) replace the An-32 with the C-295.

All previous "requirements" and assumptions should be reset. The A400M or even the C-2 now have a chance.