The Defence Ministry will sign a $2.5-billion deal with Airbus in the next few months for the purchase of 56 C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
The long pending deal for the twin turboprop transport aircraft will bring much-needed relief not only for European aerospace giant Airbus, which has seen its campaigns for lucrative defence contracts in India fail over the last few years, but also for the Indian Air Force and the domestic defence industry.
For the Indian Air Force, C295s will come as replacements for its ageing Avro HS748 transport aircraft. The first of the now vintage aircraft flew with the Indian Air Force for the first time in the early 1960s. Around 50 of these, licence-produced in India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, are currently in service.
“The Indian air force has a current active fleet of 60 Rolls-Royce Dart-engined HS 748s, aged between 35 and 58 years,” says aviation news website FlightGlobal, citing Cirium, which provides travel industry data and analytics.
The C295 is a tactical transport aircraft capable of lifting nearly 6 tonnes — Airbus says it can carry five cargo pallets or 71 troops or 50 paratroopers to forward bases.
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