C-295 Aircraft for IAF will be made by Airbus-Tata joint venture in Gujarat’s Vadodara, PM Modi to lay foundation stone of plant on October 30
India, for the first time, will manufacture state-of-the-art C-295 transport planes, which would be the first such instance outside of Europe. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will procure 56 of these aircraft manufactured under a joint venture between global conglomerate Airbus and Tata. In another first instance, the private sector will manufacture military aircraft.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the aircraft factory in Vadodara, Gujarat, on October 30 for the project worth Rs.21,935 crores, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said on Thursday. This project will give a major push to the local aerospace industry and self-reliance in this niche sector as the C-295s manufactured here will have nearly 96 percent indigenous content.
These planes will replace the aging Avro transport fleet of the IAF and enhance the capabilities to maintain logistical support to troops guarding the border with China. The versatile and fuel-efficient aircraft can land and take off from semi-prepared airstrips in remote areas in high altitude areas in Ladakh and advanced landing grounds in the north-east said the Defence Secretary.
Moreover, the C-295, used by many countries in Asia and Europe, can carry ten tons of equipment and 40 to 45 paratroopers. Also, it can be used for inserting commandos through para drop behind enemy lines thereby increasing the operational capabilities of the armed forces. As per the contract inked in September last year, IAF will get 16 planes off the shelf from Airbus while Tata will manufacture the remaining aircraft at the Vadodara plant.
While the 16 aircraft in flyaway condition will join the IAF by 2025, the supply of indigenously made planes will commence from 2026 and end in 2030. Highlighting the effort on self-reliance, the Defence Secretary said the entire electronic warfare suite of these planes will be manufactured by the public sector Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company, Kumar said adding the C-295 can also be used for civilian purposes.
Under the agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain within four years and the subsequent 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 foundation laying ceremony in Vadodara will also be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel among others. “The first 16 fly-away aircraft are scheduled to be received between September 2023 and August 2025. The first Made-in-India aircraft is expected in September 2026,” Kumar said. Air Marshal Sandeep Singh suggested that the aircraft would be able to operate from Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) and even unprepared runways. He said the aircraft can carry around 40-45 paratroopers or around 70 passengers.
“This is for the first time, the C-295 aircraft will be manufactured outside of Europe. This is very significant for the domestic aerospace sector,” Kumar said. He said all 56 aircraft will be fitted with an indigenous Electronic Warfare suite to be developed by state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
He said the TATA consortium has identified more than 125 in-country MSME suppliers spread over seven states. The Defence Ministry said this will act as a catalyst in employment generation in the aerospace ecosystem of the country and is expected to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs, and an additional 3,000 medium-skill employment opportunities with more than 42.5 lakh man hours of work within the aerospace and defence sector. Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at the Airbus facility in Spain for the project.
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