Italy's Alenia in talks with Tata Group for marketing military aircraft

Mumbai: Alenia Aeronautica of Italy is in talks with the Tata Group for a possible marketing alliance for the sale of a tactical transport aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the Indian defence forces.

Alenia Aeronautica, a partner company of the Eurofighter consortium, has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tatas for selling its C-27J Spartan tactical transport and ATR 42/72 anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian defence forces, defence journal 'The Flight International' said.

Alenia is actively considering plans to offer the twin-turboprop design to the Indian Air Force in case plans to develop a new multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA) by Hindustan Aeronautics and Russia's Irkut fail, the report said.

Under the MRTA programme, HAL and Russia's Irkut planned to collaborate in the development of the Ilyushin Il-214 twin-turbofan aircraft, which will have a maximum cargo capacity of around 18-20 tonnes. The project, however, has been facing teething troubles and is still under a cloud.

Alenia Aeronautica, meanwhile, has signed a $900 million agreement with Rolls-Royce, under which the latter will design and supply engines for the C-27J Spartan medium-lift military transport aircraft for nine years.

Rolls-Royce will manufacture the exclusive propulsion system for the C-27J Spartan medium-lift military transport aircraft at the company's Indianapolis facility under an expanded 2006 contract.

The C-27J, a mid-range multifunctional and interoperable aircraft, used for logistical re-supply, troop movement, airdrop operations as also for humanitarian assistance, is already in operation in the United States, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Lithuania.