February 07, 2013
Credit: Chliean C295: Airbus Military
Airbus Military sees potential to sell more C295s to India than just the 56 stipulated in the government’s current request for information (RFI) about a replacement for the Indian air force’s Hawker Siddeley HS-748 military transports.
Jeronimo Amado, Airbus Military’s head of market development for light and medium transport aircraft, says his company could boost the numbers further by also selling C295s to India’s navy and coast guard. He says the C295 maritime patrol variant could satisfy the Indian coast guard’s requirement for nine medium-range maritime patrol aircraft, and that a C295 airborne early warning (AEW) is under development that could fulfil the Indian Navy’s requirement for four AEW aircraft.
Numbers are important, because India’s government wants 40 of the 56 aircraft for the air force to be assembled in India in partnership with a local Indian company. But some Indian companies have told the local press that 40 is too small a number to warrant the investment in an assembly line in India.
Amador says if Airbus Military wins the competition to supply military transports to the air force, then another way to keep the production line in India going longer is to have it produce aircraft for other customers in Asia. This is something Airbus Military is willing to do, he says.
Airbus Military, however, is already establishing a C295 production line at Indonesian Aerospace in Bandung, Indonesia, and has said that assembly line would serve customers in the Asia Pacific region.
But Amador says the Indonesian assembly line’s focus is to meet demand from customers in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. This means there is room for any future C295 assembly plant in India to build aircraft for customers in northeast Asia and South Asia, he adds.
One of the issues Airbus Military will face in choosing a local Indian partner is determining how that partner will help with customer support after the aircraft goes into service. Amador declines to say what role an Indian partner may have in this area. Airbus Military is still discussing whether the Indian partner will be involved in customer support, he adds.
Amador says Airbus Military has already had discussions with potential partners in India but has yet to choose one.