India’s Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to adapt the Airbus Defence & Space C295 tactical transport for special missions should a deal to obtain the type be finalized.
The company displayed two models of the C295 in its pavilion. The Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA) is aimed at the coast guard; the other is an airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) variant for the air force.
Ground tests have taken place on the proposed MMMA’s mission systems, says a DRDO official.
“Once the airframe is available we can put the systems on it,” he says.
The MMMA would include three tactical consoles, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, identification friend and foe equipment, an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and other equipment consistent with the maritime patrol mission.
Primary MMMA roles would include maritime surveillance, pollution surveillance, and search and rescue. Secondary roles include the transport of people and cargo and air ambulance duties.
The DRDO’s C295 AEW&C concept remains in the initial planning stages and has not been formally proposed to the government. The plan would see the radar developed for New Delhi’s three Embraer EMB-145 AEW&C Netra aircraft integrated with the C295.
New Delhi’s C295 acquisition has been in the works for half a decade. The Airbus type will replace the air force’s obsolete Avro Hawker Siddeley HS748s. Media reports indicate that the original number required for the air force, 56, has grown to 62 in order to provide the coast guard with six examples.
Original plans called for 16 to be built by Airbus, with the balance to be produced in India by Tata Advanced Systems.
On wrinkle in the conclusion of the C295 deal could be HAL. The local airframer has reportedly put forward a proposal to update the “Avro” with turboprop engines, new avionics, and a glass cockpit.