In a significant development, the C-295 transport aircraft, manufactured by European aerospace giant Airbus, is set to become an integral part of the Indian Air Force’s fleet. A formal ceremony in Spain will witness Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary receiving the aircraft. This acquisition marks the retirement of the aging Euro-748 aircraft previously in use by the Air Force. The genesis of this transition dates back to September 2021 when India inked a substantial contract valued at approximately Rs 21,000 crore with Airbus Defense and Space, securing 56 C-295 transport aircraft. Per the terms of the agreement, the initial batch of 16 aircraft will be produced in Spain and delivered to India within the next two years. The remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured within India, with Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), a subsidiary of Tata Group specializing in defense, leading the effort. Notably, this marks a historic moment as it represents the first instance of military aircraft production in India involving a private enterprise. The ambitious goal is to complete the production of these 40 aircraft over the next decade at the manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat.
The C-295 transport aircraft boasts a cargo capacity of 5-10 tonnes, allowing for the transportation of up to 70 soldiers. Their primary role is to ferry troops and equipment to remote and strategically important areas that are not accessible with the Air Force’s current inventory. The presence of a rear ramp door for para-dropping enhances their utility in emergency situations and for the swift deployment of military personnel and supplies. What sets the C-295 apart is its ability to operate from shorter runways. Requiring just 670 meters for takeoff and 320 meters for landing, this aircraft empowers the Air Force to deliver crucial supplies to challenging terrain, including hilly and otherwise inaccessible regions, during emergencies. All 56 aircraft will feature an indigenous electronic warfare suite, adding to their operational capabilities.