India begins manufacturing C-295 transport aircraft for IAF

The Hyderabad-based facility of the TATA Group in collaboration with Europe based Airbus Defence and Space has begun the manufacturing of the major airframe components such as fuselage and tail for the C-295 transport aircraft.

The major sections of the aircraft assembled at the Hyderabad facility will then be moved to the Vadodara facility next year, and will be fitted with the engine and avionics and other critical components.

Earlier, in September 2021, India formalised the acquisition of 56 Airbus C-295 aircraft to replace the ageing Avro-748 aircrafts of the IAF at a cost of Rs 21,935 Crores.

Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first Sixteen (16) aircraft in flyaway condition. They are scheduled to be received between September 2023 and August 2025.

While, the Remaining forty (40) will be manufactured and assembled by the Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in collaboration with Airbus at the Vadodara manufacturing facility.

All 56 aircraft will be fitted with indigenous Electronic Warfare suite manufactured by Indian DPSUs – Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.

The first Made in India aircraft is expected from September 2026 with all the deliveries to be completed by 2031.

This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.

Also, as of now the initial set of six pilots have finished their training in Spain and the first lot of aircraft engineers of the IAF are now being trained to carry out maintenance of the aircraft that will be stationed at 10 operating bases.

Besides, the IAF has also entered a five-year Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) agreement with Airbus, making the company contractually obligated to ensure 85 percent availability for the fleet at any point in time.

Basically, this means that at any point in time, 85 percent of the fleet has to be operationally ready and not be in servicing or wait of spare parts.

TATA and Airbus are also in talks with the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard for the procurement of up to 15 additional C-295 aircraft  worth Rs 18,000 Crores.

It has been reported that procurement plan is to buy 9 C-295s for the Navy and 6 for the Coast Guard. Further, out of these, around nine are likely to be deployed for maritime surveillance

Besides, reports have been circulating that Border Security Force (BSF) which also operates the Avro-748, is interested in the acquisition of C-295 aircraft.

Noteworthy, once the deliveries of the 56 aircraft to the IAF has been completed, then Airbus will be allowed to sell the aircraft manufactured in India to civil operators and export to countries which are cleared by the Government of India.