Airbus Industries delivered the first of 56 C295 military aircraft to India this week in a historic deal that will allow the South Asian country to build the tactical cargo plane on its soil.
Indian officials at Airbus Defense & Space facilities in Spain have received the first of the planes, which can carry up to 71 combat troops and take off and land on short, unpaved runways, fully loaded.
“It is a momentous day for the Indian Air Force and the nation at large to receive the first aircraft which marks the beginning of a new era in which we will manufacture 40 of these aircraft in India,” he said. said Air Marshal Vivek Ram. Chaudhari said on Wednesday.
Made in India
India has upgraded its infrastructure, including roads and airfields, amid tensions with China that reignited following a clash between border soldiers in 2020 that left dozens dead and maimed .
Airbus said the contract for the C295 was signed quickly and in line with Delhi’s Make-in-India policy, which aims to reduce costly imports.
“It was only two years ago that we signed this contract with India, the largest order in the history of the C295,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus military chief. The deal is worth 2.46 billion euros.
“This is the start of an exciting and long-term journey with the Indian Air Force,” he said.
Delhi officials added that India has the option to order more planes.
The C295s will replace British-built Avro HS748 cargo planes in India, a new step in the evolving military landscape where France, the United States and Israel have begun to eat away at Russia’s share of the arms trade with Iran. India, the world’s second largest arms importer.
They said the C295 aircraft could also replace India’s fleet of 100 AN-32 military transport aircraft of Ukrainian origin in the future.
The Indian Coast Guard, Navy and paramilitary forces are also looking for tactical cargo aircraft.
Officials said 16 C295 planes would arrive from Spain in take-off condition till August 2025 and the remaining 40 planes would be manufactured by a Tata-Airbus consortium in Gujarat state.
The deal between Airbus and Tata will mark the private sector’s first-ever foray into India’s tightly controlled military aviation sector.
“Regardless of the definition, this is a historic project because we started manufacturing our own fighter jet in 1983, but we were only able to put it into service with the Air Force in 2021,” said an aviation analyst.
The first ‘Made in India’ C295 will be deployed in September 2026, which will be a significant milestone for the Indian aerospace industry. The final aircraft is expected to be delivered to the Indian Air Force by August 2031, according to Airbus.
Airbus also said that production of spare parts has already started and they will be shipped to the Vadodara factory, which is expected to be operational by November 2024.