C295 Aircraft Project: A Game Changer for Indian Aerospace Industry

An Update by Ritika Behal and Kavita Nagpal

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 26th September 2023 formally inducted the first C295 medium tactical transport aircraft, marking a major milestone for the IAF and for India.

Induction of the C295 aircraft marks a crucial step in the IAF’s efforts to modernize its fleet.

Manufactured by Airbus in Spain, C295 is capable of special missions, disaster response, and maritime patrol duties. Besides, it can be used for civilian purposes as well.

It is worth mentioning that the C295s will be deployed along the border with China and in places like the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to enhance the IAF’s tactical airlift capability in those areas.

These will replace the ageing Avro-748 planes, which have served the IAF for over six decades.

Here is everything you need to know about the C295 aircraft project and how it can be a game changer for Indian aircraft manufacturing industry.


On September 08, 2021, Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the procurement of 56 C295 military transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), India on September 24, 2021, signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space S.A. for acquisition of the aircraft with associated equipment.

The total cost of the project is Rs 21,935 Crores.

Under the contractual agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain.

The subsequent 40 C295 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by the Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.

All the IAF C295s will be handed over in transport configuration and equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

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

Besides, the 56 C295 aircraft ordered for the IAF by India, there is also seen a requirement for the aircraft by the Indian Coast Guard, Home Ministry and also Indian Navy.

Thus, the numbers may go well beyond 56.

Delivery Timeline

The first sixteen (16) aircraft will be assembled at the San Pablo Sur site in Seville, Spain and delivered in flyaway condition by Airbus.

As of September 2023, the first aircraft has been delivered by the Airbus; 10 days ahead of its schedule delivery.

The second aircraft is due to be delivered in May 2024 and the next 14 rolled out at a rate of one per month until August 2025.

While, the remaining forty (40) will be manufactured at a Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Vadodara in western India.

The first ‘Make in India’ C295 aircraft will roll out of the Vadodara FAL in September 2026; and the final aircraft is expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031.

About the C295 Aircraft Manufacturing Facility in India

On October 30, 2022, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility- the country’s first in the private sector -in Vadodara, Gujarat on October 30, 2022.

The facility will manufacture C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force through collaboration between Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain.

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

C295 Project: A Truly ‘Make-in-India” Program

The production of 40 Airbus C295 medium tactical transport aircraft in India will be a “game changer” as it would facilitate the creation of a world-class aerospace ecosystem in the country that would help in manufacturing other planes in the long-run.

The project offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry.

It is the first ‘Make in India’ aerospace programme in the private sector, involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem: from the manufacture to assembly, test and qualification, to delivery and maintenance of the complete lifecycle of the aircraft

This in turn will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports.

Noteworthy, more than 100 MSMEs are already associated with the project.

Also, 96% of the total man hour work per aircraft that Airbus employs at its manufacturing facility at Spain will be undertaken in India by the TATA Consortium.

Further, manufacturing of over 13,400 Detail Parts, 4,600 subassemblies and all the seven Major Component Assemblies will be undertaken in India, along with tools, jigs and testers.

Various systems such as engines, landing gear, avionics, EW suite etc. will be provided by Airbus Defence & Space and integrated on the aircraft by the TATA Consortium.

The aircraft will be tested as an integrated system by the TATA Consortium. The aircraft will be flight tested and delivered through a Delivery Centre at the TATA Consortium facility.

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

After completion of delivery of 56 aircraft to IAF, Airbus Defence & Space 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.

Employment Generation: The TATA Consortium has identified more than 125 in-country MSME suppliers spread over seven states.

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 of India.

Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at Airbus facility in Spain.

C295 Aircraft Capability

The C295 is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology that is tailored for missions that range from carrying troops and cargo to maritime patrol to signals intelligence and medical evacuation.

Robust and reliable, it is a versatile and efficient tactical transport aircraft which can perform a number of different missions.

Capable of operating on short or unprepared airstrips, the C295 aircraft is used for tactical transport of troops and the required logistic supplies (water, food, ammunition, medical supplies, and spare parts) from the main operating base to forward bases, and among forward locations which are not accessible to heavier aircraft.

It also can airdrop para-troops and cargo loads with the use of 88-in.-width platforms and container delivery system (CDS) A22 bundles.

The C295 is designed to provide outstanding low-level flight characteristics for tactical missions, flying at speeds as slow as 110 knots.

In the troop passenger configuration, the C295 accommodates 71 troops or 49 paratroopers and jumpmaster.

For cargo transportation, the aircraft’s 12.69-metre-long unobstructed pressurized cabin accepts five standard 88” x 108” pallets or eight A-22 containers.

On medical evacuation missions, the C295 aircraft can be fitted with 24 stretchers and seven medical attendants. Intensive care configurations also are possible.

Noteworthy, the C295s for the Indian Air Force will be equipped with indigenous electronic warfare systems.

The aircraft, with a flight endurance of up to 11 hours, can carry out multi-role operations under all weather conditions.

It can routinely operate day as well as night combat missions from desert to maritime environments.

Currently, more than 30 nations operate the C295 and smaller CN235 light/medium airlifters to complement their C130-class aircraft, including UAE, Brazil, France, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.

To sum up, the Indian Government’s idea of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ will gain new push from this land as the project is not only a perfect ‘make in India’ initiative but it will also be able to take orders for export to other countries in the future.