Embraer has strengthened its bid to equip the Indian air force with its C-390 tactical transport by announcing a memorandum of understanding with Mahindra Defence Systems.

Signed in New Delhi on 9 February, the pact has “the objective of jointly fulfilling the acquisition of the C-390 Millennium multi-mission aircraft by the Indian air force in its upcoming Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) procurement project”, Embraer says.

The companies “will engage with the Indian air force to identify the next steps of the MTA programme, as well as contact the local aerospace industry in India to start developing the industrialisation plan for the project”, Embraer says.

C-390 for India

Source: Embraer Defense & Security

Embraer is offering its C-390 for future service with the Indian air force

“India has a diverse and strong defence and aerospace industry and we have chosen Mahindra as our partner to jointly pursue the MTA programme,” says Embraer Defense & Security chief executive Bosco da Costa Junior. “We see this partnership as a symbol of strengthening relations between Brazil and India.”

“The collaboration around the C-390 Millennium will bring the latest technology in terms of aerospace and military transport aircraft to India,” the Brazilian company says. “Both Embraer and Mahindra will explore the potential to turn India into a future hub of the C-390 aircraft for the region.”

“The C-390 Millennium is the most advanced military airlifter in the market, and we believe that this partnership will not only bolster the operational prowess of the Indian air force, but also provide an efficient industrialisation solution that aligns seamlessly with the objectives of ‘Make in India’,” says Mahindra aerospace and defence sector president Vinod Sahay.

India is seeking a new transport fleet to replace its aged Antonov An-32s, and issued a request for information in February 2023. Other likely candidates are the Airbus Defence & Space A400M and Lockheed Martin C-130J.

The C-390 is in operational service in Brazil and Portugal, on order for the Czech Republic and Hungary, the subject of a combined acquisition by the Netherlands and Austria, and was in late 2023 selected by South Korea.