Meghna Barik, Pune
Airbus Defence and Space has achieved a significant milestone by officially delivering the first C295 aircraft out of a total order of 56 to the Indian Air Force (IAF). This significant event represents a substantial leap forward in the effort to replace the IAF’s aging Avros-748 fleet, thereby enhancing their military capabilities.
The C295 possesses the capability to transport up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, execute cargo airdrops, facilitate medical evacuations, and operate from short, unpaved runways, solidifying its reputation as a formidable asset in the realm of military aviation.
The transfer of this military transport aircraft took place during a special ceremony held in Seville, Spain. Esteemed attendees included India’s Ambassador to Spain, Dinesh K Patnaik, and the Chief of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari. The C295, finely configured for transport operations and equipped with an indigenous electronic warfare system, is now poised to embark on its journey from Airbus’ production facility in Seville to its ultimate destination in Delhi, India. The operation of this aircraft will be a collaborative endeavor involving team members from both the IAF and Airbus.
Jean-Brice Dumont, the Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Just two years ago, we entered into this historic contract with India for 56 C295s. Today, we are fulfilling our commitment by delivering the inaugural aircraft as scheduled. We are eager to enhance the Indian Air Force’s capabilities and modernize their transport fleet. This marks the beginning of a promising and enduring partnership with the Indian Air Force.”
The initial batch of 16 C295s will undergo assembly in Seville, Spain, with the second aircraft set for delivery in May 2024. Following this, the remaining 14 aircraft will be delivered at a rate of one per month until August 2025.
In a noteworthy effort to bolster India’s self-reliance in defense manufacturing, the remaining 40 C295s from the IAF’s order will be subject to collaborative manufacturing and assembly in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL). This collaborative venture will establish a Final Assembly Line (FAL) located in Vadodara, Western India.
Production of aircraft components is already underway at the Main Constituent Assembly (MCA) facility situated in Hyderabad, South India. These components will be transported to the Vadodara FAL, which is scheduled to commence operations by November 2024. The first ‘Make in India’ C295 is anticipated to roll off the Vadodara FAL assembly line in September 2026, signifying a monumental achievement for the Indian aerospace sector. The final aircraft is slated for delivery to the IAF by August 2031.
With an impressive track record boasting 283 orders from 41 operators, the C295 has firmly established itself as a benchmark of versatility and stands as an unrivaled leader in its category.