On Friday (Sept 24), the Indian Air Force (IAF) became the 35th C295 operator worldwide, after it formalized its acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft. These aircraft will replace the legacy Avro fleet and the transport fleet of IAF will be modernized. This programme is also the first-ever in India where the private sector company will manufacture the aircraft locally and will contribute significantly to the developing country’s industrial eco-system which will include manufacturing, assembling, testing, and qualification. Under the `Make in India’ initiative the program will help in the maintenance of the whole lifecycle as well as meeting delivery timelines.
Around 200 C295 are already in operation and have booked more than half a million flight hours.
Following the approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier this month, the contract was signed between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain. This is for the acquisition of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft.
Also, both signed an Offset Contract. This will enable M/s Airbus to discharge its offset obligations. Under this, the company will directly purchase eligible services and products from Indian Offset Partners.
According to the official statement by the Ministry of Defence, the first 16 out of 56 aircraft will be delivered by Airbus in fly-away condition.
These aircraft will come from the assembly line located in Seville, Spain.
As part of an industrial partnership between Airbus and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), the balance of 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled here in the Tata facility.
Timeline for the delivery
According to the contract inked, once it is implemented, the delivery of the 16 aircraft will be over a period of four years.
More about the aircraft
According to the official statement issued by Airbus, the 56 aircraft for the IAF will be handed over in transport configuration and they will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.
These aircraft are equipped with contemporary technology and are of 5-10 tonne capacity.
They are capable of operating from semi-prepared strips.
According to the Ministry of Defence, India, once the delivery for the IAF is completed these aircraft can be exported to friendly nations after the government’s approval.
The Airbus under the C295 program an entire bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing will come to India.
It will be in collaboration with Airbus’s industrial partners including the Tatas; Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Bharat Dynamics Ltd.
As has been reported earlier there will be a huge involvement of several MSMEs from across the country and they will be involved in manufacturing of different parts of the aircraft.
For quick reaction and para-dropping, the aircraft has a rear ramp door for dropping cargo and troops during various operations.
The new transport aircraft will be used for tactical transport of up to 50 paratroopers or around 70 troops.
These new aircraft will be of great help to IAF for logistic operations especially to the locations which are not easy to access especially for heavier aircraft.
Also, according to Airbus, this aircraft has the capability of being used for casualty or medical evacuation (medevac).
This capability was demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis and basic litters or mobile intensive care units (ICU) with life support equipment were used.
This aircraft can also be used for special missions including maritime patrol duties.
Once inducted in the IAF they provide a major boost to tactical airlift capability, and this will be of importance especially in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Northern and North-Eastern sector.
What did Airbus & TATA say after the signing of the contract?
The C295 has proved itself as a segment leader.
According to Michael Schellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, “There will be further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem. Over the coming ten years, the contract will be bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions.”
Terming it as a moment of pride for the Tatas and a milestone for the Indian military manufacturing ecosystem, Sukaran Singh, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, said, “It demonstrates Tata Advanced Systems’ capabilities as a defense manufacturer and can construct globally competitive complex platforms in India.”
Source: Financial Express