NEW DELHI — A reassessment of Air Force priorities has jeopardized India's first effort to produce military aircraft in the domestic private sector.
India's first ever effort to produce military aircraft in the domestic private sector faces failure because the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to reassess its need to buy from the market transport aircraft worth US $3.5 billion to replace its aging Avro transport aircraft, a tender for which was issued in 2013.
The Avro replacement tender invites foreign vendors to identify an Indian private sector partner, supply 16 aircraft made abroad and manufacture 40 at a facility set up in India with the local partner.
"Airbus had tied up with [Tata]TASL for the Avro tender with the hope that they would (Airbus and TASL) will together draw major plans to join hands in the aero market, including joint production of a variety of helicopters" said an executive of the Tata group. "All future plans in the aerospace sector are now put on the shelf again," the executive added.
As the Air Force reassesses its part of the fresh exercise to reassess the Air Force'spriority needs, the of the IAF, Avro replacement is likely to be given a low priority figure low in the wish list and the project Avro fleet replacement may put be put on hold, the MoD source added.
No Air Force official of IAF would publicly comment on the priority list under preparation, but an Air Force source said one reason in IAF said that buying new aircraft to replace the for Avros replacement could be viewed as a low priority is figure lower in the priority list because India is and Russia are negotiating joint production and development of has a proposal to jointly produce and develop medium transport aircraft with Russia's United Aircraft Corp. (UAC). It has also purchased US transports.oration.(MTA) with Russia, which is in the final stages of negotiation.
The program MTA envisages production of a 20-tone cargo plane capable of ferrying 80 troops together with infantry fighting vehicles or light tanks, artillery guns and ammunition, and replace the AN-32 transports. aircraft with the IAF.Ends
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.