Ukrainian Antonov Bureau has signed a partnership agreement with the Indian Reliance Defence company, within the framework of the tender, pertaining to the potential deliveries of medium Multi-Role Transport Aircraft for the Indian Air Force. The Ukrainians hope that they will be able to create an offer which would make it possible to push the Russian Ilyushin company out from the Indian market.
The Antonov company is willing to participate in the multi-million dollar tender, offering its An-178 cargo aircraft, along with the An-148 and An-158 jetliners. The agreement is going to have a significant value, since the MTA needs defined solely by the Indian Air Force are quite high – it is said that 200 airframes are expected to be acquired.
The Russian Ilyushin facility was, so far, a serious contender to win the tender. The Russians have offered their Il-214 aircraft. Back in January 2016 however, it was announced that the joint Russian-Indian project within that area has been suspended. The Russian manufacturer claims that this is just a temporary situation, and that the pause is to make it possible to implement adjustments within the programme, and refine the details pertaining to potential collaboration. Nonetheless, the Ukrainian offer may completely reshape the situation.
This is especially possible in the light of the fact that the Antonov’s design is brand new, it was being developed within the period between 2010 and 2015, on the basis of the An-148/158 airliners. Meanwhile, Il-214 has been under development since the year 2000, with numerous interruptions and difficulties. The agreement pertaining to the partnership with the Indian industry increases the odds of Ukrainians achieving a success within the tender in India.