The sole Airbus-Tata bid to replace 56 of the Indian Air Force's HS748 Avro medium transports with Indian-built C295 twin turboprop aircraft is likely to be pushed through by the Defence Ministry shortly, paving the way for what the government hopes will be a cornerstone for the 'Make in India' campaign. The complex programme involves the local manufacture of 40 aircraft following the procurement of 16 in flyaway condition from the airframe OEM. PM Narendra Modi's recent visit to the Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France is being seen as a major leg-up for the company in terms of its 'Make in India' thrust, with the proposed Indian C295 production line being pitched as a global aircraft hub, the first of its kind in India.
The MoD has also shown willingness to look beyond 'single vendor' issues and press on with the needs of the forces. As with the AWACS programme, where the MoD cleared the single Airbus bid with the A330 widebody jet, all indications are that the Airbus-Tata bid will similarly be pushed through after certain clarifications are verified. The programme will be one of the largest in India.