Seville (Spain): Chief of Indian Air Staff V Chaudhari on Wednesday received the first of the 56 C295 transport aircraft from the final assembly line of Airbus Defence and Space in Spain. The new transport aircraft are being procured by the government to replace the aging Avro-748 fleet.
India had sealed the deal for procuring the fleet of C295 transport aircraft with the Airbus two years ago for ₹21,935-crore. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari described the possession of new aircraft as a “momentous day for the lAF and India”.
Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away condition from its final assembly line in southern city of Spain, Seville, by 2025 and the subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
Chaudhary also took a sortie on the new aircraft in transport configuration and with an indigenous electronic warfare suite. The aircraft will leave the Airbus assembly line in Seville on September 15 and will be flown to India by a joint team of pilots from IAF and Airbus.
“While the first aircraft was rolled out from Spain, the 17th aircraft will be assembled at the final assembly line in Baroda in 2026. It will mark a historic moment as the first time a military transport aircraft will be fully manufactured in India,” said Chaudhari to a news agency in Spain.
IAF officials said that the first ‘Make in India C295 will roll out of the Vadodara final assembly line in September 2026, which will be a milestone for the Indian aerospace industry. “The final aircraft is expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031. It was only two years ago that we signed this contract with India, the largest order in the history of the C295,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus head of Military Air Systems.
“Today, we are enhancing the capabilities of the Indian Air Force and modernising its transport fleet by delivering the first aircraft on schedule. This is the beginning of an exciting and long-term journey with the Indian Air Force,” he said.
The production of components of these aircraft has already started in the main constituent assembly (MCA) facility in Hyderabad. These parts will be shipped to the final assembly line (FAL) in Vadodara, which is expected to be operational by November 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of Vadodara manufacturing plant in October last year.
Avro-748 planes were commissioned in the IAF about six decades ago. The global C295 programme comprises a total of 280 orders from 39 operators, making it an unmatched aircraft in its weight and mission class, the plane maker said.
Specification of C295
The C295 is known to be a superior aircraft used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft. It can airdrop paratroops and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation. The aircraft is also capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.