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Tata, Airbus To Make C-295 Aircraft For IAF In Gujarat's Vadodara: All You Need To Know

The foundation laying ceremony of the same will take place on October 30 and will be attended by PM Narendra Modi. 'For the first time, the C-295 aircraft will be manufactured outside of Europe,' Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said.

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Image used fro representational purpose. (Picture courtesy: Airbus.com)
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In a major boost to India's defence system, European aviation giant Airbus and India’s TATA group will jointly manufacture at least 40 C-295 transport aircraft in India with the production unit being set up in Gujarat’s Vadodara as part of a Rs 21,935-crore deal.

The foundation laying ceremony of the same will take place on October 30 and will be attended by PM Narendra Modi. "For the first time, the C-295 aircraft will be manufactured outside of Europe," Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said on Thursday.

The foundation laying ceremony in Vadodara, will also be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel among others.

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Officer on Special Duty, Department of Defence Aramane Giridhar, who will take charge as the next defence secretary, was also present at the press conference.

What is the C-295 aircraft?

The C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of IAF.

It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo. Short take-off and landing from semi-prepared surfaces are other of its features.

How will the project benefit IAF?

Making the announcement at a media briefing, Kumar said the facility will cater to export of the aircraft as well as for additional orders by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft is set to strengthen the logistic capabilities of the IAF.

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Under the current agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in 'fly-away' condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain within four years 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. 

Addressing a press conference here today, Kumar said, "as part of the contract, 16 aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition and 40 will be manufactured in India by the Indian Aircraft Contractor, TATA Consortium of Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) led by TASL."

"This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company. The total cost of the project is Rs 21,935 crore. The aircraft can be used for civilian purposes as well," he added.

“The project offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation industry. It will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports,” Kumar said.

It said various systems such as engines, landing gear and avionics will be provided by Airbus Defence and 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.

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IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal Sandeep Singh suggested that the aircraft would be able to operate from Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) and even unprepared runways.

He said the aircraft can carry around 40-45 paratroopers or around 70 passengers.

He said all 56 aircraft will be fitted with indigenous Electronic Warfare suite to be developed by state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.

After completion of delivery of 56 aircraft to IAF, Airbus Defence and 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, he said

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When was the agreement made?

In September last year, India sealed an over Rs 21,000 crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 C-295 aircraft to replace the ageing Avro-748 planes of the IAF.

“The first 16 fly-away aircraft are scheduled to be received between September 2023 and August 2025. The first Made-in-India aircraft is expected in September 2026,” Kumar said, speaking from Kerala through video conference.

The defence ministry said manufacturing of over 13,400 detail parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all the seven major component assemblies will be undertaken in India.

It said various systems such as engines, landing gear and avionics will be provided by Airbus Defence and 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.

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How will it help in boosting employment?

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

The defence ministry said 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.

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

(with PTI inputs)

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