Australia has revised its earlier draft request for tenders (RFT) for a replacement light tactical-transport aircraft so that the Indonesian IPTN CN235-330 Phoenix can be included (Flight International, 4-10 February).

The move follows approaches by Indonesian science and technology minister Bacharuddin Habibie to Australian defence minister Ian McLachlan. Habibie, also chairman and president of state-run IPTN, points out that the original draft RFT would have disqualified the Indonesian-built version of the turboprop from the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) Air1590 project.

The draft document shown to IPTN had called for a shortened runway performance and increased maximum take-off weight for improved payload lift. The specifications would effectively have narrowed the choice of aircraft in the competiton to the Alenia/Lockheed Martin C-27J Spartan and CASA's planned enlarged C295M variant of the Spanish/Indonesian co-developed CN235.

It is understood that the draft RFT has been revised and will be incorporated into a final tender document - expected to be issued by March - which will give the three competing teams three months to submit their bids. The requirement is for 12-18 aircraft to replace the RAAF's de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou transports.

IPTN, in the meantime, has been forced to delay delivery of six CN235-220 transports to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), to recertificate the aircraft's de-icing system.

The aircraft were originally ordered in late 1993 as part of a counter-trade deal, and at least five have already been completed and are sitting on the ramp at IPTN's Bandung plant.

The latest -220 version features reshaped wing leading-edges for improved aerodynamics. The Indonesian Directorate General of Air Communications has ruled, therefore, that the pneumatic-boot anti-icing system must be re-qualified for the aircraft to be certificated to the local CSR25 equivalent of the European Joint Airworthiness Requirement Part 25.

Source: Flight International