In a historic step that will give a fillip to the Indian defence ecosystem, the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the procurement of 56 (Fifty-Six) C-295MW transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Airbus Defence and Space, Spain.
The procurement will be done under the ‘Buy & Make’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure. Out of the 56 aircraft, 16 aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within the span of 48 months of the signing of the contract, while the remaining 40 will be manufactured by ‘TATA Consortium’ in India within 10 years of the signing of the contract.
The $2.5-3 billion deal is the first of its kind project in which a military aircraft will be built in India by a private firm. Giving the much-needed boost to the Indian aerospace ecosystem, all 56 aircraft will be installed with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite. Further, the project will engage several Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in manufacturing the parts of the aircraft.
The twin-turboprop transport aircraft will replace the aging vintage Avro HS748 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force. Additionally, the program will provide a major boost to the `Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ as it offers a unique opportunity for the Indian Private Sector to venture into a technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation ecosystem. The deal will augment the domestic aviation manufacturing sector, resulting in less import dependence and an expected increase in exports.
Creation of over 6,600 jobs
Under the Make-in-India deal, a large number of detail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of C-295MW transport aircraft are scheduled to be manufactured in India. The project will act as a catalyst in employment generation, as over 600 highly skilled persons will be associated with the project, over 3,000 indirect jobs will be created and an additional 3,000 medium skill employment opportunities along with more than 42.5 lakh man-hours of work will emerge within the aerospace and defence sector of India.
MRO centers in India
When sections of an aircraft and components are sent for repair, they are sent to an MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) center. Under the deal, MRO centers will be set up in India for C-295MW aircraft, which will provide much-needed repairs and maintenance services within the country itself.
Deciphering the versatile and efficient tactical transport aircraft – C-295 MW
The Airbus C-295 MW aircraft is a new-generation tactical airlifter, which has a capacity of 5-10 tonnes with contemporary technology along with a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para dropping of troops and cargo.
The all-weather C295 aircraft conducts multi-role operations worldwide along with combat missions in extreme circumstances, from desert to maritime environments, from extremely hot to extremely cold temperatures.
The new generation aircraft are equipped with winglets, which allows the aircraft to transport heavy payloads over larger distances, resulting in savings of around 4% fuel consumption and increased safety margins in mountainous regions.
With cabin dimensions of 12.7 m/41 ft 8 in (in length), the C-295 MW aircraft has the longest unobstructed cabin in its class, which can accommodate up to 71 persons, resulting in much higher personnel-carrying capability.
Short take-off and landing (STOL)
Combined with strong landing gear, the C295’s STOL capability enables it to operate in the most austere locations with the worst conditions for take-off and landings. Interestingly, the aircraft will be beneficial in the runaways of the Northeast and Himalayan states of India. The C295 is also designed to provide outstanding low-level flight characteristics for tactical missions, flying at speeds down to 110 knots.