Please credit aerospacediary
Apr 29, 2016
Even as global firms battle to gain attention of India for the second line of fighters, Dirk Hoke CEO of Airbus Defence and Space (DS) made his company's focus clear by making a visit to Delhi this week to make an offer to design, develop, manufacture and export the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
The AMCA offer aerospacediary learns, comes with a rider: Airbus will only be associated with the project in a 50:50 joint venture since decisions tend to get overridden by Indian counterparts. Discussions are likely to get stuck if HAL insists on Airbus reimbursing it for the cost of the LCA development. In which case, Airbus is likely to demand cost of transfer of technology. Another future Make in India project sunk before floated!?
Hoke took over his position from April 1 this year, and was making no bones in the aggressive role the company wants to play. Airbus is believed to have focussed on its capabilities and experience of having worked with government agencies including DRDO and HAL. No mean task!
The AMCA project remains in a feasibility stage and continues to be a paper tiger.
Another offer by Hoke includes a joint venture participation in the LCA project where it is a consultant and a project that continues to suffer from cost overruns. Four additional features have been added to what is known in industry circles as LCA Mk1A that includes an SPJ pod and inflight refuelling. While 48 maintenance nonconformants are to be removed, this is likely to be a very difficult task. The LCA as a result is likely to become heavier and the project further delayed. "The problem is with the undercarriage," an engineer told aerospacediary. In 2012, an elaborate plan in 4 phases was presented to HAL by Airbus to ramp up its systems. This was not adopted. Interestingly, while the Indian Navy's Mk2 LCA is in a "good state", the navy is believed to have second thoughts wanting a twin engine. Could this be a move towards the F-18 one wonders?
Meanwhile as the government struggles with cash issues, we learn it is unlikely that the MMRT will be cleared this fiscal.
Further, the Avro replacement -C295- is moving well. Officials are likely to visit Spain next month to check out the maintenance facilities.