Alenia Aeronautica is negotiating a marketing and industrial co-operation agreement with India's Tata to promote the possible sale of the C-27J Spartan tactical transport and ATR 42/72 anti-submarine warfare aircraft to India. The two companies have already signed a memorandum of understanding that will be converted into a true contract if negotiations prove successful.

Alenia Aeronautica has offered Tata some industrialisation tools for the C-27J under the initiative, which is aimed at offering the twin-turboprop design to the Indian air force in case current efforts to co-operatively develop a new Multi Role Transport Aircraft (MRTA) by Hindustan Aeronautics and Irkut fail.

 Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Spartan
© Alenia Aeronautica

The MRTA programme, which is a development of the Ilyushin Il-214 twin-turbofan with a maximum cargo capacity of around 18-20t, has faced numerous troubles in recent years, and it is still not clear whether the project will be finalised.

This uncertainty has prompted several Western manufacturers to enter the game, despite the lack of any request for proposals from the air force.

However, the Alenia/Tata proposal could be of interest to the service, because the C-27J appears to be a better fit for an Antonov An-32 replacement than the much larger MRTA.

The Italian aircraft also features commonality with the Lockheed Martin C-130J, six of which are expected to enter Indian service following a selection earlier this year.

Alenia is also preparing an offer based on an ATR derivative for an Indian navy requirement to replace around 30 Dornier/HAL 228s operating in the maritime reconnaissance and electronic warfare roles.

The company has previously sold modified ATR 42s to the Italian coastguard and customs, and 10 ATR 72-500 ASW aircraft to Turkey.

Source: Flight International