IAF’s first C-295 transport aircraft takes to the skies - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

India has signed a Rs 21,935 crore contract with Airbus for 56 C-295 jets

By Vikas Gupta

Defence News of India, 8 May 23

The first of 56 Airbus C-295 tactical airlifters acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF) completed its maiden flight, marking a major milestone towards its delivery by the second half of 2023.

The plane took off from the Airbus factory in Seville, Spain, on Friday morning and landed smoothly at 2:45 p.m. after a three-hour flight.

The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) signed a Rs 21,935 crore contract with Airbus on September 24, 2021 for 56 C-295 aircraft.

Since the C-295 is intended to replace the IAF’s aging fleet of 56 Avro HS-748 aircraftthis contract is called the “Avro Replacement Program”.

The “Avro Replacement Program” will require Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) to develop a complete aerospace industrial ecosystem: from manufacturing, assembly, testing and qualification, to delivery and lifelong maintenance. aircraft life cycle.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already inaugurated a factory in Vadodara to manufacture the C-295. Airbus officials say the unit will galvanize the development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs over the next decade.

The contract stipulated that Airbus would assemble the first 16 planes in Seville and deliver them to the IAF in “flying condition”. between September 2023 and August 2025.

The remaining 40 devices would be manufactured and assembled in Vadodara by TASL, as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies. The first Made in India aircraft is expected in September 2026.

This is the first time that the Ministry of Defense entrusts a private company — TASL — with carrying out all of the final assembly of a military aircraft.

The worldwide C-295 program includes a total of 280 orders from 39 operators, making it unrivaled in its weight and mission class. Of these 39 operators, the IAF is poised to become the world’s largest operator of the C-295.

In March, the Ministry of Defense signed an offset contract with Airbus Defense and Space whereby Airbus will fulfill its offset obligations through the direct purchase of eligible products and services from Indian offset partners, said the Ministry of Defense in a press release.

The Ministry of Defense previously announced that 96% of the total man-hour work per aircraft that Airbus employs at its manufacturing plant in Spain would be carried out in India by the Tata consortium. This will involve the manufacture in India of over 13,400 detailed parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and the seven major component assemblies, along with tools, jigs and testers.

Senior IAF officials said the C-295 surpassed the performance of the two medium transport aircraft the IAF currently operates: the British Avro and the Ukrainian-Russian Antonov-32 (AN-32).

The C-295 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW-127 turboprops and can carry up to 71 soldiers or 50 paratroopers with combat loads. It can transport supplies to places inaccessible to the IAF heavy transport fleet, such as the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Super Hercules or Ilyushin Il-76.

The C-295 multi-role can also be used for medical evacuation (medevac), using either basic litters or mobile intensive care units with life support equipment. It can also perform special missions, disaster response and maritime patrol missions.

The MoD says the C-295 would bolster the IAF’s tactical airlift capability, particularly on the northern and northeast borders and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.