Embraer teams up with Mahindra for Indian Air Force airlifter programme


Brazil’s Embraer Defense & Security and India’s Mahindra Defence Systems have on 9 February signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly offer the C-390 Millennium multirole tactical airlifter for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) acquisition programme.

The IAF is understood to be seeking to acquire between 40 and 80 transport aircraft under the MTA project. The service earlier released a request for information (RFI) in February 2023 that stipulated that MTA contenders are required to have a cargo-carrying capacity of between 18 and 30 tons.

“We are honoured to announce this MoU with Mahindra. India has a diverse and strong defence and aerospace industry and we have chosen Mahindra as our partner to jointly pursue the MTA program” said Bosco da Costa Junior, President & CEO, Embraer Defense & Security.

Vinod Sahay, President Aerospace & Defence Sector and Member of Group Executive Board, noted that Embraer is known for its engineering excellence and a unique portfolio of aircraft and systems.

“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,” said Sahay.

Embraer is looking to build momentum for the C-390 aircraft after securing a contract in December with South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to equip the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) under the US$544 million Large Transport Aircraft (LTA) II programme.

Under LTA II, Embraer will provide an undisclosed number of specially configured C-390 Millennium aircraft, as well as ancillary services and training, ground support equipment as well as spare parts.

According to Embraer, South Korea is the C-390 Millennium’s first customer in Asia and the seventh country to have selected the type after Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, and Czech Republic.

The C-390 first entered service with the Brazilian Air Force in 2019 and most recently with the Portuguese Air Force in 2023. Embraer claims that the current fleet of aircraft in operation has accumulated over 10,800 flight hours with operational availability of around 80% and mission completion rates above 99%.

A C-390 Millennium aircraft will be exhibited for the first time at Singapore Airshow 2024 from 20-25 February.

by Jr Ng