Updated: September 9, 2021 7:20:11 am
In what would provide a major fillip to the transport fleet of the Indian Air Force, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Wednesday cleared procurement of 56 transport aircraft from Airbus. The deal to buy the C-295MW transport aircraft is expected to cost upwards of Rs 20,000 crore.
While the first 16 of these aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain, within 48 months of the contract being signed, the remaining 40 will be manufactured in India by a consortium led by the Tata Group over 10 years, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that it will make it the first-of-its-kind deal in the country. All aircraft will be installed with the indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite, it stated.
C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the IAF, the government said, adding that it has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo.
The Defence Ministry called it a “unique initiative to strengthen indigenous capabilities”. The fleet will replace the Avro aircraft of the Air Force, which are British-origin twin-engine turboprop, military transport and freighter with a 6-tonne freight capacity.
The ministry stated that it will buy the transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain.
“Sixteen aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months of signing of the contract and forty aircraft will be manufactured in India by TATA Consortium within ten years of signing of the contract,” the statement said. “This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company. All fifty-six aircraft will be installed with indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.
The deal has been about a decade in the making.
An Airbus spokesperson said: “Airbus welcomes the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security on the procurement of 56 C-295 aircraft and looks forward to signing and executing the contract jointly with the Tata Group.”
“The project will give a boost to aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft.”
The statement mentioned that it “offers a unique opportunity for the Indian Private Sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry” and the project will “augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports”.
The ministry also stated that a “large number of detail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of aero structure are scheduled to be manufactured in India” and the project 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 3000 indirect jobs and an additional 3000 medium skill employment opportunities with more than 42.5 lakh man hours of work within the aerospace and defence sector of India”.