Airbus delivers first C295 to Indian Air Force

In September 2021, the defence ministry signed a Rs 21,935-crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space for 56 C295 planes. Photo: Airbus

Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari received the first of the 56 C295 transport aircraft at Airbus’ production facility in the southern Spanish city of Seville.

The C295, in transport configuration and with an indigenous electronic warfare suite, will leave for Delhi on September 15. 

What is special about C295?

• Airbus’ new generation C295 is a highly versatile tactical transport that is tailored for missions that range from carrying troops and cargo, maritime patrol, airborne warning, surveillance and reconnaissance to signals intelligence, armed close air support, medical evacuation, VIP transport and airborne firefighting.

• It is capable of carrying up to nine tonnes of payload or as many as 71 troops at a maximum cruise speed of 260 knots. 

• Adding to its flexibility is the capability of being equipped for the air-to-air refueling of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

• It has short take-off & landing (STOL) performance from unpaved, soft, and sandy/grass airstrips.

• The C295 is combat proven, having been successfully used during long deployments in remote areas such as Chad, Iraq and Afghanistan. It routinely operates in the hot and humid conditions of the Brazilian jungle and Colombian mountains, in the dusty and very hot deserts of Egypt and Algeria, and in the extremely cold and icy winters of Poland, Finland and Kazakhstan.

• With more than 200 aircraft in operation, the C295 has an outstanding track record of reliability, demonstrating daily its worth as a highly efficient workhorse.

Deal to boost ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’

• In September 2021, the defence ministry signed a Rs 21,935-crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space for 56 C295 planes to replace its ageing Avro-748 fleet that entered the service over six decades back.

• Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in 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.

• The first aircraft was assembled in Seville, Spain. The second aircraft is due to be delivered in May 2024 and the next 14 rolled out at a rate of one per month until August 2025.

• To boost self-reliance in the defence-manufacturing sector in India, the remaining 40 C295s of the IAF order will be manufactured and assembled at a Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Vadodara in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).

• 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 Vadovara FAL, which is expected to be operational by November 2024.

• In October 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the manufacturing facility for C295 planes in Vadodara. 

• The first ‘Make in India’ C295 will roll out of the Vadodara FAL in September 2026.

• It will mark a historic moment as the first time a military transport aircraft will be fully manufactured in India.

• The final aircraft is expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031.

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