Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for a transport aircraft manufacturing project for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Vadodara, Gujarat on October 30.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel will attend.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had, on September 8, 2021, approved the acquisition of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft from Airbus Defense and Space SA, Spain. On September 24, 2021, the Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Airbus Defense and Space SA for the acquisition of the aircraft with associated equipment.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on October 27, 2022, Defense Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar said that under the contract, 16 aircraft will be delivered in airworthy 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) run by TASL. This is the first such 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 also be used for civilian purposes.
The first 16 fly-away aircraft are expected to be delivered between September 2023 and August 2025. The first Made in India the aircraft is expected from September 2026.
The C-295MW is a 5-10 ton capacity transport aircraft with contemporary technology that will replace the IAF’s aging Avro aircraft. It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and parachuting of troops and cargo. Short take-off/landing from semi-prepared surfaces is another of its characteristics. The aircraft will enhance the logistics capabilities of the IAF.
The project offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter a technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation industry. It will increase domestic aviation manufacturing, which will reduce dependence on imports and the expected increase in exports.
In addition, 96% of the total labor hours per aircraft that Airbus employs at its manufacturing plant in Spain will be carried out in India by the TATA consortium. The fabrication of over 13,400 detail parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all seven major component assemblies will be undertaken in India, along with tools, jigs and testers. Various systems such as engines, landing gear, avionics, EW suite, etc. will be supplied by Airbus Defense & Space and integrated on the aircraft by the TATA consortium. The aircraft will be tested as an integrated system by the TATA consortium. The aircraft will be flight tested and delivered via a delivery center at the TATA Consortium facilities.
The 56 aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous electronic warfare suite from Indian DPSUs – Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited. After the completion of the delivery of 56 aircraft to the IAF, Airbus Defense & Space will be allowed to sell the Indian-made aircraft to civilian operators and export them to countries authorized by the Indian government.
The TATA Consortium has identified over 125 national MSME suppliers across seven states. This will act as a catalyst in creating jobs in the country’s aerospace ecosystem and is expected to directly generate 600 high-skilled jobs, over 3,000 indirect jobs and 3,000 additional medium-skill job opportunities with over 42.5 lakh man-hours of work within the aerospace and defense sector of India. Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at Airbus premises in Spain.
Special Duty Officer, Ministry of Defence, Aramane Giridhar, Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, DG (Acquisition) Pankaj Agarwal and other senior Ministry of Defense officials Defense and the IAF were present at the press conference.