Early notes from people present in the bid opening process confirmed that only the bid of Airbus Military was found as eligible, with PT DI planning to file for motion for reconsideration. MaxDefense later found out that the CN-235, as previously reported by an earlier MaxDefense blog regarding this project, was non-compliant as it cannot carry the specified number of pallets, passengers, paratroopers, and stretchers as required by the technical specifications. It was also non-compliant on the payload requirements, making all these a strong reason for the aircraft to be disqualified.
|A C-295 transport aircraft delivered to the Mexican Air Force.|
Photo taken from shepherdmedia.com
As for Alenia Aermacchi's concerns, the Department of National Defense (DND) has vowed to answer all their earlier complaints separately.
|The CN-235 offered by PT DI was disqualified for failing to meet payload and space requirements. In a twist of fate, the winning bidder Airbus Military is one of the original manufacturers of the CN-235, together with PT DI.|
It is expected that the post qualification process will start soon, and may involve DND and PAF personnel to check EADS-CASA-Airbus Military's facilities and C-295 production in Spain. No word though if PT DI will be involved in any way as they are also a licensed assembler of the C-295 for the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and a strategic partner of Airbus Military. If everything goes as planned, it is expected that the planes will be available to the PAF after 26 months after opening of letter of credit which may be provided to Airbus Military by around March or April this year. Thus the latest the PAF can have their planes will be around May, 2016. The PAF would be luckier if Airbus Military can deliver earlier as their production of the C-295 is still in full blast. It is still unconfirmed though if Airbus Military offered the newer C-295W version, or the older C-295M.
With the choice of the C-295, it would be interesting to see next what would be the PAF's choice on the future Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (LRMPA) acquisition project, wherein the a modified C-295 is said to be one of the contenders as well. Although it was confirmed by the DND and PAF sources that the LRMPA project might be US-sourced, it is still possible for the C-295 to steal the show as everything is not yet final on that project.
|A C-295 in MPA form used by the Chilean Navy. With the C-295 choice of the PAF, the C-295 bid for the LRMPA project may be possible as well.|
MaxDefense will provide updates on this project up until we can finally see a contract signed between the PAF and Airbus Military.