In a significant boost to the domestic aerospace sector, PM Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of a transport aircraft manufacturing project for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Vadodara, Gujarat, on October 30, 2022.
Addressing a press conference on October 27, 2022, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar said that a consortium of Airbus and the Tata group will manufacture C-295 transport aircraft for the IAF in Vadodara, Gujarat.
As part of the contract, 16 aircraft coming from Spain will be delivered in flyaway condition, and 40 others will be manufactured in India by the Indian Aircraft Contractor, TATA Consortium of Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) led by TASL.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had, on September 08, 2021, approved the procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft from M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain. Subsequently, on September 24, 2021, the Ministry of Defence signed a contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space S.A. for the acquisition of the aircraft with associated equipment.
This is the first project of its kind in which a private company will manufacture a military aircraft in India. The total cost of the project is Rs 21,935 crore.
The first 16 flyaway aircraft are scheduled to be received between September 2023 and August 2025. The first Made in India aircraft is expected in September 2026.
C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with state-of-the-art technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of IAF. It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping troops and cargo. The aircraft will strengthen the logistic capabilities of the IAF.
Various systems, such as engines, landing gear, avionics, EW suite etc. will be provided by Airbus Defence & Space and integrated into the aircraft by the TATA Consortium.
All 56 aircraft will be fitted with the indigenous Electronic Warfare suite of Indian DPSUs – Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited. After the completion of the delivery of 56 aircraft to IAF, M/s Airbus Defence & Space will be allowed to sell the aircraft manufactured in India to civil operators and export to countries which are cleared by the Government of India.
The project will act as a catalyst in employment generation in the country’s aerospace ecosystem and is expected to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs and an additional 3,000 medium-skill employment opportunities. Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at the Airbus facility in Spain.
The C-295 is a tactical lift aircraft that can be used for many roles. It can be operated from high-altitude areas where other heavy-lift aircraft can not land or take off. It can be used for air-dropping of special forces, paratroopers, and other logistic operations.
It can also be used for disaster management roles, casualty or medical evacuation, and for civilian purposes.