Moving to achieve a milestone in the highly competitive aviation industry and boosting its Make-in-India defence programme, the government announced Thursday that a transport aircraft manufacturing facility for the Indian Air Force will come up in Vadodara.
To start with, 40 of the 56 C-295MW transport aircraft being procured from Airbus Defence and Space SA, Spain, will be manufactured at the new facility in Vadodara.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the Vadodara facility on October 30. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will be among those attending the function.
In September 2021, after the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space SA, the Ministry of Defence signed a contract for acquisition of the aircraft with associated equipment.
Addressing a press conference Thursday, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said that 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.
“The first 16 flyaway 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.
The aircraft will be able to operate from Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) and even unprepared runways, and it can carry around 40-45 paratroopers or around 70 passengers.
The C-295MW transport aircraft project is the first involving the manufacture of a military aircraft in India by a private company. Future plans involve sale of the aircraft to domestic operators — the aircraft can also be used for civilian purposes — and export to countries following government clearance.
“This is for the first time, the C-295 aircraft will be manufactured outside of Europe. This is very significant for the domestic aerospace sector,” he said.
It is also the first project 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.
The C-295MW 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. Its abilities include short takeoff and landing from semi-prepared surfaces.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said all 56 aircraft will be fitted with indigenous Electronic Warfare suite of Indian DPSUs, Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
“After completion of delivery of 56 aircraft to IAF, Airbus Defence & 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,” it stated.
The project, the Ministry said, 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.
Also, 96% of the total man hour work per aircraft that Airbus employs at its manufacturing facility in Spain will be undertaken in India by the Tata Consortium, it stated.