16 readymade C-295s, 40 make in India: Airbus deal cleared, Tata elated

The Airbus C-295 aricraft at an expo in Dubai | Photo - Wikipedia

India has sealed a ₹20,000 crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force, in a plan that entails the first manufacturing of military aircraft by a private company, the Tata Advanced Systems (TASL).

The Airbus will initially deliver the first 16 aircraft in fly-away condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain within four years of the contract. 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 chairman of Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata, took to Twitter to congratulate Airbus Defence, TASL and the Defence Ministry, saying it is a “bold step” forward in the opening up of the aviation and avionics projects in India.

He said the project will create a domestic supply chain capability to international standards, which has never been undertaken before. “The C-295 is a multi-role aircraft with several configurations to meet mission requirements. It envisages total manufacturing of the aircraft in India,” he said.

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The contract was signed two weeks after it was cleared by the Prime Minister-led Cabinet Committee on Security and the C-295 will replace the Avro-748 planes of the IAF used for transport of men and cargo.

Airbus said the first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years after the contract implementation and that all the planes will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite (EWS).

A contract for acquisition of 56 C-295 MW transport ac for #IAF was signed today between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) & M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain | Photo – Twitter/IAF

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space said that this contract would ensure 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years

“The C295 has proven again as the segment leader, and with the addition of India as a new operator, the type will enlarge its footprint even more, not only on the operational aspects but on its own industrial and technological development,” he said.

Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, described the sealing of the deal as a moment of pride for Tatas and a “milestone” for the Indian military manufacturing ecosystem.

“For the first time, an Indian private company will be wholly manufacturing an aircraft in India. This endeavour demonstrates Tata Advanced Systems capabilities as a defence manufacturer to build globally competitive complex platforms in India,” he said.

Also read: From the Tatas to the Govt and back to Tatas? Legacy of Air India

Airbus in a statement said the C295 programme will see Airbus bring its complete bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing to India in collaboration with its industrial partners, including the Tatas and leading defence public sector units such as Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Ltd.

With a proven capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips, the C295 is 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 said.

The aircraft can airdrop paratroopers and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation. The aircraft is capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.

Inside an Airbus C-295, where cargo and men can be placed for transporting | Photo – Wikipedia

“The IAF becomes the 35th C295 operator worldwide, with the programme reaching 278 aircraft, 200 of which are already in operation and have booked more than half a million flight-hours,” Airbus said.

In his statement, Ratan Tata said, “The C-295 is a multi-role aircraft with several reconfigurations to meet mission requirements. It envisages total manufacturing of the aircraft in India. It will create a domestic supply chain capability of international standards, which has never been undertaken before.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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