India's Coast Guard is reportedly
set to join the Indian light transport aircraft replacement program
, bringing the total value of the project up by 45% to around $2.76 billion for a revised total of 62 aircraft. A single bidder - a joint bid with partners Tata Group and Airbus - remains, following Alenia's departure in October
. This burgeoning number of aircraft may grow, with the Indian Navy also potentially seeking to jump on the bandwagon.
India’s slow-motion force modernization has made significant progress within its aerial transport fleet. Their AN-32s are being modernized, stretched C-130J Hercules have been bought for their special forces, and the IAF’s high-end IL-76s will soon be joined by 10 Boeing C-17 heavy transports. Now, at the very bottom of India’s fixed-wing transport force, it’s time to replace the 6 tonne capacity of the IAF’s 30 or so surviving 748M Avros. The planes are currently used for troop transport, communications, and training.
The 2 leading contenders are a familiar pair, and would be more like western counterparts to the higher-performance AN-32s. A number of other makes and models have been floated, which could make for an interesting competition if enough of them respond.