India is likely to give the final nod for the $1.7 billion (INR 11,929 crore) contract to acquire 56 C-295 military transport aircraft as a replacement for the IAF’s ageing Avro fleet.
“The extensive trials and Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) are over now. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) this month will take up the project to approve certain deviations before sending it to the cabinet committee on security for the final nod,” sources were quoted as saying by TOI on Monday.
In May 2015, DAC cleared a proposal by Airbus Defence & Space and its Indian partner, the Tata Group to procure the C-295 aircraft. Under the present deal, 16 aircraft will be built by a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and the remaining 40 will be built in the country by an Indian manufacturer under transfer of technology.
The IAF reportedly made changes to some of the earlier parameters, and the proposal was put forth for DAC’s approval.
This deal has become even more critical as a separate project to jointly co-develop and produce a Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) of 20 tonnes with Russia to replace the An-32s in service was scrapped after initial design discussions. The An-32s, which are the workhorse of the IAF are currently being upgraded instead under a $400 million deal finalised with Antonov state corporation of Ukraine in 2009.