Seville (Spain):Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Wednesday received the first of the 56 C295 transport aircraft two years after India sealed a Rs 21,935-crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure the jets to replace its ageing Avro–748 fleet.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari, receiving the aircraft at the aerospace major’s production facility in the southern Spanish city of Seville, described it as a “momentous day” for the IAF and India as 40 C-295 out of the total fleet will be manufactured in Vadodara.
“It is a momentous day for us, for the Indian Air Force in particular, and a nation as a whole to receive the first aircraft which marks the beginning of a new era, wherein we will be manufacturing 40 of these aircraft in India,” he said.
Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville by 2025 and the subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
In October last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the manufacturing facility for 295 planes in Vadodara. It will be the first military aircraft to be manufactured in India by a private consortium.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is procuring the C295 aircraft to replace its fleet of ageing Avro-748 planes that entered the service over six decades back.
The global C295 programme comprises a total of 280 orders from 39 operators, making it an unmatched aircraft in its weight and mission class, the plane maker said.
The C295 is known to be a superior aircraft used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft.
The aircraft can airdrop paratroops and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation.
The aircraft is capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.
After the mega deal was finalised last year, Airbus said the C295 programme will see the company bring its complete bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing to India in collaboration with its industrial partners.
In May, the first C295 aircraft built for India successfully completed its maiden flight in Seville. The second one is in the final assembly at the Seville facility and is scheduled to be delivered to the IAF in May next year.
After the mega deal was finalised, Airbus said the C295 programme will see the company bring its complete bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing to India in collaboration with its industrial partners.
Six pilots from the IAF and 20 technicians have already undergone extensive training at the Seville facility.
The final assembly line for the C295 aircraft in Vadodara is set to be operational in November next year.
Officials said the IAF will be the world’s largest operator of the C295.