Thursday, October 6, 2011

Exclusive! IAF Chief calls Industry’s Bluff- Is the industry taking the bait?

Neelam Mathews
Oct 5, 2011

The astute Indian Air Force Chief NAK Browne has dared the Indian industry to put its money where its mouth is by getting involved in the indigenization program to build Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA) to replace its aged 56 Avros.

“The model we are proposing is to buy a few and license manufacture the rest in India…This is the first time it ('Make' India) will be open to the private sector…We do not require more than 56…the (40-50 seater) project can cater to the civil aviation market (to become viable),” said Browne.

The OEM will need to select a partner in India, “The TOT will be the OEMs responsibility,” says a senior IAF official to Aerospace Diary.

The MoD wants the same requirements of Avros to be maintained in the replacement. Which in effect, leaves the ATR out as it does not have a rear ramp as the Avro does. Short field landings and take-offs from all type of airstrips is also expected.Those that are expected to be in the fray include Alenia's C-27J and EADS CASA 295. The AN-32 (provided turboprop is not specified) weighs only 6 tons , while the others are 9-10 tons. The minimum requirement is 8 tons. 

So, is the industry taking the bait? By the looks of it, not likely, says an OEM. 

“Browne is openly challenging the industry. Either the project will be implemented like the MMRCA in a fly away condition or with a local manufacturer with TOT that will have to be made under a time frame,” says an official close to the project.

The RFP is likely to be released after the feasibility study is completed.

The question, ofcourse remains is, how competitive will the Indian industry be if it manufactures in India for export.

It was initially discussed that a consortium of four companies with Tatas leading the prime was to work on the project as laid out in a presentation made by the three chambers of commerce to the IAF in July on behalf of the private industry on its capabilities. Vendors did say no opportunities existed presently to meet SQRs.

Gaps in technology remain-
Currently Available
Better/ Emerging Technologies - Industry could leverage in Terms of ToT/ IPR/ Source Codes etc
Ability to Develop
Aircraft structural Modification

Mission Systems integration

Flight Testing and Analysis

Avionics Software
Production and Process Control
Maintenance and Repair of Aircraft

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