Context: The defence ministry announced that it has signed a ₹22,000-crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space for 56 C-295 medium transport aircraft to modernise the Indian Air Force’s transport fleet.
- The C-295s will replace the IAF’s fleet of ageing Avro-748 planes that entered service in the early 1960s.
- Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) will jointly execute the programme under which Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in fly away condition from Spain while TASL will assemble the rest in India.
- IAF will become the 35th C-295 operator worldwide.
- Of the 56, 40 aircraft will be manufactured in India by the Tata consortium. All the deliveries will be completed within 10 years of signing of the contract. 16 will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months.
- This is the first time that an Indian private company will be manufacturing a military aircraft in India.
- The aircraft will give a major boost to the tactical airlift capability of IAF, especially in the Northern and North-Eastern sector and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- The project will provide a major boost to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ that offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry.
- The project will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports. A large number of detail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of aero structure are scheduled to be manufactured in India.
- The programme will act as a catalyst in employment generation in the aerospace ecosystem of the country and is expected to generate highly skilled jobs, indirect jobs, medium skill employment opportunities work within the aerospace and defence sector of India.
About the C-295MW aircraft
- The CASA C-295 is a medium tactical transport aircraft that was designed by the Spanish company CASA in the 1990s as a development of the CASA-Nurtanio CN-235
- It is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the IAF.
- It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo.
- It made its first flight on 28 November 1997 and entered service with the Spanish Air Force in 2001.
- The C-295 is capable of performing a wide variety of missions effectively: tactical and logistical transport, parachute and cargo drop, medical evacuation, and maritime patrol.
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