The Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated a significant milestone as it formally received its first C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space during a ceremony in Seville, Spain. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari presided over the handing over ceremony.
MODERNIZING INDIA’S TRANSPORT FLEET
This acquisition is part of a larger project worth ₹21,935 crores aimed at modernizing the IAF’s transport fleet, with a total of 56 C-295 planes ordered. Airbus will deliver 16 aircraft in a flyaway condition, while the remaining units will be assembled in India at a Tata facility in Vadodara, Gujarat.
The initial aircraft is expected to make its way to India shortly, followed by a formal induction ceremony at the Hindon airbase later this month.
This achievement comes two years after the Indian defence ministry signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of 56 C-295 planes, with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) partnering with Airbus in the program’s execution.
Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari emphasized the significance of this milestone for both the IAF and the nation. He highlighted the substantial improvement in tactical airlift capabilities for the IAF and underscored how it marks the beginning of a new era for India.
A BOOST TO ‘ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT’ INITIATIVE
He also pointed out the importance of this achievement for the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-Reliant India) initiative. He noted, “After the first 16 aircraft roll out from this plant, the 17th aircraft onwards will be made in India. It’s a big step for the Indian aviation industry where we will be manufacturing the first military transport aircraft in the country…”
TIMELINES FOR AIRCRAFT DELIVERIES
The IAF’s second C-295 is currently in the final assembly stages at Airbus’s Seville facility and is scheduled for delivery in May 2024. The remaining flyaway aircraft will be delivered 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 remainder by August 2031.
STRENGTHENING THE AEROSPACE ECOSYSTEM
This project is a crucial step towards enhancing India’s aerospace ecosystem, involving numerous MSMEs across the country in the manufacturing of aircraft parts. It’s noteworthy that all 56 aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite, further contributing to India’s self-reliance in defence manufacturing.