India completes the plans to acquire 56 Airbus C295 planes

India completes the plans to acquire 56 Airbus C295 planes

The acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) AVRO fleet has been finalised. It is the first private sector ‘Make in India’ aerospace programme, involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem: from manufacturing to assembly, from test and qualification to delivery and maintenance of the aircraft throughout its entire lifecycle.

According to the contract, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain, in ‘fly-away condition. In India, TATA Advanced Systems (TASL) will manufacture and assemble the next 40 aircraft as part of the two companies’ industrial partnership.

The first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years following the contract’s implementation. All IAF C295s will be delivered in transport configuration, with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

“This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming ten years,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “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”.

Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, said, “This is 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.”

The C295 can operate from short or unprepared airstrips. It is used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers and logistic operations to locations not accessible to current heavier aircraft. It can airdrop paratroopers and loads and be used for casualty or medical evacuation (medevac), as demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis, using either basic litters or mobile intensive care units (ICU) with life support equipment. The aircraft can carry out special missions such as disaster response and maritime patrol.

The IAF becomes the 35th C295 operator globally, with the programme totalling 278 aircraft, 200 of which are already in service and have logged more than 500,000 flight hours.