Working with Asians in Asia: Airbus Military Shapes Its Strategy


Airbus Military has focused for some time on ways to harvest the legacy of CASA to shape a more global strategy.  The historical relationship with Indonesia has provided a very good launch point for such an effort.  CASA has a long history of working with Indonesia and has more recently leveraged that relationship to build new aircraft for Vietnam, which can be supported in part from Indonesia.

Vietnam has purchased several of the C-212s for various missions which include, coastal patrol, search and rescue, anti-pollution operations, and law enforcement against smuggling of goods or people.

C212 Vietnam Marine Police. Credit: Airbus Military 

On November 8, 2012, the company announced a new agreement with Indonesia.

According to an Airbus Military press release:

Airbus Military and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) have signed an agreement to jointly launch an upgraded version of the Airbus Military C212-400 as a further step in their long-term cooperation agreement. The aircraft, renamed as NC212, will be offered to both civil and military customers and will be a highly competitive offer in the market segment of light aircraft, being equipped with new digital avionics and autopilot systems. It will also have a new civil interior for up to 28 passengers compared to the current 25, increasing its cost efficiency significantly. The NC212 will be EASA and FAA FAR 25 certified.

The agreement foresees joint development, manufacturing, commercialization and customer support to cover the needs of the civilian, cargo and military light aircraft market segments for the next decade. The potential market in this segment is estimated at 400-450 aircraft in the next ten years. A Final Assembly Line is to be set up in the PT DI facilities in Bandung. This is a further step towards increasing the cooperation between the two long-standing partners.

The NC212 is the second immediate result of the “Teaming Agreement” signed between Airbus Military and PT DI, which supports PT DI’s revitalization through specific cooperation and business development projects, and aims to achieve a long term strategic partnership between Airbus Military and PT DI in the near future.

The recent order for nine CN295s from the Indonesian Government and the related C295 cooperation packages between Airbus Military and PT DI were the first immediate results of this plan, including the creation of a CN295 Delivery Centre, a light CN295 Final Assembly Line and the setting up of a Service Centre in Bandung.

Since October last year, both companies have already put in place joint working teams located in the PT DI facilities in Bandung, with Airbus Military having deployed on-site. These teams are working in industrial and commercial areas, focusing on generating new business for both companies and improving industrial capabilities, engineering processes, IT tools and know-how transfer, in order to transform PTDI into a leading aerospace company for light and medium aircraft in the Asia Pacific region.

As Martin Armas, Head of M and L Industrial Management and Control, on the light medium aircraft Airbus Military final assembly line commented during a recent SLD visit to Seville:

Among other planes, you saw the fifth Vietnamese C-212.  This plane is being final assembled from the main structural groups provided by our partner in Indonesia.

The plane represents a basic approach of Airbus Military, which is to grow footprint in Southeast Asia in the years ahead. 

There are significant development opportunities in the region, but these opportunities require a significant industrial presence in the region as well.

So what we are doing with this plane is the main final assembly of the Vietnamese planes, but the rest of the groups and parts to be assembled are done in Indonesia.