Indian Air Force takes delivery of first C-295 aircraft from Airbus in Spain

Sep 13, 2023 03:15 PM IST

The aircraft is the first of the 56 such planes ordered by the Indian Air Force under a ₹21,935-crore project to modernise its transport fleet

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday took the delivery of its first C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, with Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari attending the handing over ceremony at Seville in Spain, officials aware of the matter said.

IAF’s first C-295 aircraft at Seville in Spain. (Rahul Singh/ HT file photo)
IAF’s first C-295 aircraft at Seville in Spain. (Rahul Singh/ HT file photo)

The aircraft is the first of the 56 such planes ordered by the IAF under a 21,935-crore project to modernise its transport fleet. The European plane maker will deliver 16 aircraft in flyaway condition, while the rest will be assembled in India at a Tata facility in Gujarat’s Vadodara.

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The first aircraft is expected to fly to India soon, following which a formal induction ceremony will be held at the Hindon airbase later this month, the officials said.

The delivery of the first C-295 comes two years after the defence ministry signed a contract with Airbus for 56 planes to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector. Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Airbus are jointly executing the programme.

IAF’s second C-295 is in the final assembly stages at Airbus’s Seville facility and will be delivered in May 2024, the officials said.

The last of the 16 flyaway aircraft will be delivered to IAF by August 2025, while the first ‘Made in India’ C-295 will roll out of the Vadodara facility in September 2026; the remaining 39 by August 2031.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in October 2022 laid the foundation stone of the Vadodara manufacturing facility. The C-295 will be the first military aircraft to be manufactured in India by a private consortium, paving the way for the IAF to become the world’s largest operator of the C-295.

The aircraft was ordered as a replacement for IAF’s fleet of the ageing Avro-748 planes that entered service in the early 1960s.

As part of the C-295 India project, the manufacturing of more than 13,000 parts, 4,600 subassemblies and all major component assemblies will be carried out in the country. To be sure, equipment such as engines, landing gear and avionics will be provided by Airbus, and integrated on the aircraft. The tactical airlifter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines.

The C-295 contract covers performance-based logistics support for five years, supply of spares across 10 operating bases for 10 years, ground support and test equipment, and training, the officials said.

The C-295 can carry up to 9 tonne of payload, or 71 personnel, or 45 paratroopers, and has a maximum speed of 480kmph. It can also operate from short or unprepared airstrips, and has a rear ramp for para dropping troops and cargo.

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