Monday, July 2, 2012

Exclusive! An-32s replacement -is it in the air?

Neelam Mathews
July 2, 2012

A requirement for a military transport to replace 56 HS.748 twin turboprops operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) has raised procedural problems for potential bidders following the release for a Request for Information last December inviting OEMs to bid only if they could find private Indian partners (Aerospace Diary June 15).

Candidate Indian companies are reluctant to commit to the project as the few Indian manufacturers capable of involvement say they need a commitment for at least 200 aircraft from the Ministry of Defense. “We need a business case before we invest money in the project," they say. Aerospace Diary learns as the life of the 104 An-32s in the force runs out in 2024-25, the government could well be looking at adding those to the 56 it plans for the RFP once it is released.

"This will solve the problem of the minimum numbers the private industry needs a commitment for, which is totally relevant given that they will be investing so much money in a facility and developing a supply chain," says an official.

IAF began inducting upgraded An-32 aircraft after a total technical life extension overhaul' with new avionics and airframe strengthening to ensure the medium-lift cargo aircraft can fly for another 15 years.

Giuseppe Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aeronautica, estimates that demand for military transports in India will reach 100 aircraft in the future. The Indian requirement “opens possibilities for us to work with Indian partners” to meet needs in southeast Asia and Australia, he told Aerospace Diary last year. 

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