Tata-Airbus to bid for IAF aircraft deal, 40 to be made in India

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 29 2014, 06:47am hrs
In the first big boost to the governments Make in India initiative, aimed at making India a manufacturing hub, Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) on Tuesday announced a joint bid for a government contract to supply military aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF is looking to replace its fleet of Avro aircraft and the joint venture will supply Airbus C295 medium transport aircraft, a joint statement issued on Tuesday said.

While the Avro deal envisages the supply of 56 aircraft to the IAF 40 are to be made by the JV the government, since it came to power in May this year, has cleared over R1 lakh crore worth of projects to be made in India. Of this, projects worth R80,000 crore were cleared over the weekend.

Although at 49% Indias defence foreign direct investment levels are lower than the 51% that global defence majors prefer, the governments strategy is to create enough orders for local manufacturers, thereby pulling in investments. India, with an annual defence budget of around $38 billion, is the largest importer of defence equipment in the world, including arms.

If the Airbus-TASL combine bags the order, it would be a big next step for the Tata Group company, which thus far has been a supplier of components for global aerospace firms like Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin. It would be the first time that the company would be building an entire aircraft from scratch at its manufacturing unit in India.

It is a landmark for the development of aircraft manufacturing capability in India, now that Tata Advanced Systems is poised to take this step towards building entire aircraft in India, TASLs chairman

S Ramadorai said in

the statement.

The C295 is a superbly reliable and tough aircraft with outstanding economics which is proven in the most difficult operating conditions all over the world, said Domingo Urea Raso, executive vice-president in charge of military aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space. It has already been ordered by 19 countries, many of which have placed repeat orders. And just this year it has dominated the market with orders for no fewer than 20 aircraft from five countries.

TASL has a joint venture with American helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky through which it manufactures components needed to make the airframes of the latter's S-92 choppers. TASL is also the sole global supplier of finished cabins for the S-92, which will soon be the official chopper of the US President.

The company also has a joint venture with US-based Lockheed Martin to manufacture airframes for the C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes in India.

Plane facts

Deal, if it goes through, will be a major boost for

the governments Make in India initiative

If it wins the order, will mark Tata Groups entry

into manufacturing an entire aircraft

So far Tata Advanced Systems has been supplying components and airframes to Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin