The Airbus Defence and Space on Wednesday handed over to the Indian Air Force the first of the 56 C295 transport aircraft, kick-starting the delivery of the planes under a Rs 21,935-crore project.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari received the aircraft at the aerospace major’s production facility in the southern Spanish city of Seville. The delivery was part of a deal sealed two year’s back as part of an overall aim to modernise India’s air assets.
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 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 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.