IAF receives first C-295 Aircraft from Airbus in Spain

IAF has got its first C-295 aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space in a ceremony attended by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari in Spain.

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of its first C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space in a ceremony attended by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari in Seville, Spain. This milestone marks the initial step in the IAF’s efforts to modernize its transport fleet with a total order of 56 C-295 planes, valued at ₹21,935 crores.

The recently delivered aircraft is the first of 56 C-295 planes ordered by the IAF as part of a comprehensive project to upgrade its transport capabilities. Airbus will supply 16 of these aircraft in flyaway condition, while the remaining units will be assembled in India at a Tata facility located in Vadodara, Gujarat.

The first C-295 is expected to soon embark on its journey to India. Following its arrival, a formal induction ceremony is planned to be held at the Hindon airbase later this month.

The delivery of this initial C-295 aircraft comes two years after the Indian defense ministry entered into a contract with Airbus for the procurement of 56 planes. This move is aimed at bolstering India’s self-reliance in the defense manufacturing sector and enhancing its transport capabilities. The program is being executed collaboratively by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Airbus.

A second C-295 aircraft for the IAF is currently in the final assembly stages at Airbus’s Seville facility and is scheduled for delivery in May 2024.

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The delivery timeline for the remaining 39 C-295 aircraft is as follows: The last of the 16 flyaway planes will be handed over to the IAF by August 2025, while the first ‘Made in India’ C-295 will roll out of the Vadodara facility in September 2026, with the remaining 39 to follow by August 2031.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Vadodara manufacturing facility in October 2022. The C-295 program represents a significant step forward as it marks the first military aircraft to be manufactured in India through a private consortium. This initiative positions the IAF to potentially become the world’s largest operator of the C-295.

The C-295 aircraft was ordered to replace the aging Avro-748 planes, which entered service in the early 1960s.

As part of the C-295 India project, more than 13,000 parts, 4,600 subassemblies, and all major component assemblies will be manufactured in India. Key components such as engines, landing gear, and avionics will be supplied by Airbus and integrated into the aircraft. The tactical airlifter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines.

The C-295 contract also includes performance-based logistics support for five years, spares supply across 10 operating bases for 10 years, ground support and test equipment, as well as training provisions.

The C-295 boasts a payload capacity of up to 9 tonnes, with the capability to transport 71 personnel or 45 paratroopers. It can reach a maximum speed of 480 km/h and is capable of operating from short or unprepared airstrips, featuring a rear ramp for para dropping troops and cargo.

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