THE production of 40 Airbus C295 medium tactical transport aircraft in India will be a “game changer” as it would facilitate the creation of a world-class aerospace ecosystem in the country, Indian ambassador to Spain Dinesh K Patnaik said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) received the first C295 aircraft on Wednesday (13), two years after New Delhi sealed a Rs 219.35 billion (£2.13bn) deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure the planes.
Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville by 2025 and another 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 C295 project will be a game-changer project as it will create a world-class aerospace ecosystem in India,” Patnaik said in Seville.
The first made in India C295 is set to come out of a production facility in Vadodara in September 2026 and the final aircraft is expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031.
It will be the first military aircraft to be produced in India by a private consortium. Officials said India is looking at procuring more C295 aircraft to replace the IAF’s ageing transport fleet of Avro-748 planes that entered the service more than six decades back.
After Airbus handed over the first plane to the IAF, Patnaik said the C295 project is not only about procurement of the aircraft but it carries much more significance in terms of the creation of an aerospace eco-system in India.
Patnaik, who has been coordinating with various stakeholders in the timely implementation of the project, said the creation of an aerospace industry will help India develop and produce various categories of aircraft in the future.
In October last year, prime minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the manufacturing facility for C295 planes in Vadodara.
Airbus’ global C295 programme comprises around 280 orders from 39 countries, the plane maker said.
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.
The aircraft can airdrop paratroops and loads and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation.
The production of components of the aircraft has already started in the main constituent assembly facility in Hyderabad and the parts will be shipped to the final assembly line in Vadodara.
Airbus handed over the first aircraft to the IAF 10 days ahead of the scheduled delivery.
Some of the leading suppliers of components of C295 aircraft are expected to set up production facilities in India ahead of scheduled production.
“In the last several decades, we bought a lot of aircraft. But we have never created an aerospace ecosystem in India. This project will help in the creation of an aerospace ecosystem in India. This will make the future production of planes in the country much easier,” Patnaik said.
The officials said the IAF will be the world’s largest operator of the C295.