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Airbus pitches A400M for IAF MTA project

The Airbus A400M's payload-carrying capability exceeds the maximum requirement laid down by the IAF's MTA programme. Airbus said the A400M's advantages include its ability to accomplish new missions not possible by pure medium airlifters. (Janes/Sam Wise)

Airbus has pitched its A400M ‘Atlas' aircraft in response to a request for information (RFI) by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for its Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) requirement.

“Airbus has participated in the MTA RFI that was issued in the first quarter of 2023,” an Airbus spokesperson told Janes.

With its MTA programme, the IAF is exploring the option of acquiring a batch of 40, 60, or 80 transport aircraft. In its RFI, the IAF said the aircraft are required to have a cargo-carrying capacity of between 18 and 30 tonnes.

The spokesperson added that Airbus is pitching the aircraft as “several A400M have been flying through and to India as escorts of foreign air forces deployments in the South East Asia region and the aircraft is relatively known by the Indian Air Force”.

The A400M Atlas transport aircraft has a maximum payload capacity of 37 tonnes (according to Janes data) and falls outside the MTA requirements. However, Airbus said that from an operational perspective, the A400M “can fill capability gaps of transport” in the IAF while simultaneously complementing the current transport fleet strength.

The IAF's primary transport fleet roughly comprises 50 legacy Avro 748M Series 2 aircraft, 17 Ilyushin-76MD transport aircraft, 54 Antonov An-32RE aircraft, 12 Lockheed Martin C-130 J-30s, and 11 Boeing C-17A aircraft, according to Janes data.

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