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French A-400M ‘Tests Mettle’ As It Competes With US C-130J For IAF Deal

This collaboration builds upon previous joint surveillance missions conducted from the French territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022, reflecting the growing strategic alignment between the two nations.

As the competition heats up for the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for medium transport aircraft, the Airbus A-400M, belonging to the French Navy, has arrived in India for a naval exercise.

With contenders like the American C-130J and the Brazilian C-390 Millennium vying for the lucrative contract, the presence of the A-400M adds an intriguing dimension to the ongoing competition.

The joint naval exercise between the Indian and French navies marks another step in their increasing cooperation and interoperability. Recently, the Indian Navy’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I engaged in a joint exercise over the Bay of Bengal with its French counterpart, alongside the presence of the French transport aircraft A-400M.

These exercises aim to enhance synergy and interoperability between the two navies, further strengthening their strategic partnership.

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The timing of the naval exercise coincides with the agreement between India and France to intensify cooperation in the Southwest Indian Ocean, emphasizing their shared commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region.

This collaboration builds upon previous joint surveillance missions conducted from the French territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022, reflecting the growing strategic alignment between the two nations.

India’s strategic significance in the Indo-Pacific cannot be understated, given its extensive coastline, numerous islands, and vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Similarly, France’s presence in the Indian Ocean rim, with its overseas territories and extensive EEZ in the Indo-Pacific, underscores its importance as a regional player.

The Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing attention from both the QUAD countries and France, with military assets from these nations participating in joint exercises aimed at enhancing synergy and security. French military vessels, like the Frigate FNS Lorraine, have previously visited Indian islands, highlighting the strengthening defence ties between India and France.

In the competitive landscape of the medium transport aircraft tender, companies like Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defence and Space are competing against each other, leveraging their respective advantages. Lockheed Martin holds an edge with its C-130J Super Hercules, already in the IAF’s fleet, while Airbus aims to make inroads with its A-400M aircraft.

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Embraer Defence & Security, in partnership with Indian company Mahindra, is also a contender in the tender, showcasing its commitment to the Indian market by proposing the C-390 Millennium multi-mission aircraft. With the IAF looking to induct 40-80 aircraft as part of the Make in India initiative, the competition remains fierce.

The A-400M’s visit to India coincides with Embraer’s strategic move to establish manufacturing capabilities in India, further intensifying the competition for the coveted medium transport aircraft contract. As the tender process unfolds, the participation of global aerospace firms underscores India’s growing importance in the defence market and its evolving defence partnerships.

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Pratham Gurung
Pratham Gurung
An avid movie buff who aspires to make it into the armed forces. Always had a knack for words so reading and writing are my favourite hobbies. Can debate on anything but not everything.
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