New Delhi, September 13
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari today said India’s force projection depended on “our ability to take off from short and austere airfields to moving forces to frontline when required”.
He was speaking to reporters at Seville, Spain, where he received the first Airbus C-295 plane at a company facility.
“It is a momentous day for us, for the Indian Air Force in particular and a nation as a whole to receive the first aircraft, which marks the beginning of a new era, wherein we will be manufacturing 40 of these aircraft in India,” he said.
The plane can accommodate 40 paratroopers or 71 passengers. It can land and take off from short runways and even unprepared runways.
India has procured 56 C-295 transport aircraft under the Rs 21,935-crore agreement sealed two years ago.
Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its assembly line in Spain by 2025 and the subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled at Vadodara by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
The second aircraft is due to be delivered in May 2024 and the next 14 will be rolled out every month until August 2025. The electronic warfare suite is being designed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and will be fitted into all 56 planes. Equipped with contemporary technology, the plane has a 5-10 tonne capacity that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the IAF. The aircraft has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and paradropping of troops and cargo.
A large number of parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of the aero structure are scheduled to be manufactured in India.
Airbus, in a statement, said the production of components of 40 make-in-India aircraft had already started at the main constituent assembly facility in Hyderabad. These parts will be shipped to Vadodara, where the facility is expected to be operational by November 2024. “The first make-in-India C-295 will roll out of Vadodara in September 2026,” said Airbus, adding the final aircraft was expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031.
Indian Ambassador to Spain Dinesh K Patnaik said the plane would significantly impact the bilateral relations as well as the economic ties between India and Spain. Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus’ head of military air systems, said, “This is the beginning of an exciting and long-term journey with the IAF.”
To replace ageing Avro fleet
- Under the Rs 21,935-crore deal, the IAF intends to replace its ageing Avro fleet
- Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain, by 2025
- Subsequently, 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems in India
- While the first aircraft was rolled out from Spain, the 17th aircraft will be assembled at the final assembly line in Vadodara in 2026
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