Indian Air Force Receives its Inaugural C-295 Aircraft from Airbus in Spain

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has officially received its initial C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space during a handover ceremony held in Seville, Spain, attended by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari. This marks the commencement of a significant modernization effort for the IAF’s transport fleet, involving the acquisition of 56 such planes at a cost of ₹21,935 crores.

Out of the 56 aircraft, Airbus will deliver 16 in a ready-to-fly condition, while the remainder will undergo assembly in India at Tata’s facility in Vadodara, Gujarat. The first of these aircraft is expected to arrive in India shortly, with a formal induction ceremony scheduled for later this month at the Hindon airbase.

This milestone comes two years after the Indian Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Airbus for the procurement of 56 C-295 planes, aimed at enhancing self-reliance in the defense manufacturing sector. The project is a collaboration between Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Airbus.

The second C-295 for the IAF is currently in the final assembly stages at Airbus’s Seville facility and is slated for delivery in May 2024. The delivery of all 16 ready-to-fly aircraft will be completed by August 2025, while the first ‘Made in India’ C-295 is anticipated to roll out from the Vadodara facility in September 2026, with the remaining 39 by August 2031.

The Vadodara manufacturing facility, whose foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2022, will be responsible for producing the C-295, making it the first military aircraft manufactured in India by a private consortium. This development paves the way for the IAF to become the world’s largest operator of the C-295.

The C-295 aircraft was ordered to replace the IAF’s aging Avro-748 planes, which entered service in the early 1960s.

Under the C-295 India project, over 13,000 parts, 4,600 subassemblies, and all major component assemblies will be manufactured in India. Key components such as engines, landing gear, and avionics will be supplied by Airbus and integrated into the aircraft. The tactical airlifter is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines.

The C-295 contract encompasses performance-based logistics support for five years, spares supply across 10 operating bases for a decade, ground support and test equipment, as well as training. The C-295 can carry payloads of up to 9 tonnes, accommodate 71 personnel, transport 45 paratroopers, and reach a maximum speed of 480 km/h. It is also capable of operating from short or unprepared airstrips and features a rear ramp for para-dropping troops and cargo.

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