India has formally signed the deal to acquire 56 Airbus C295 MW aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force (IAF) legacy AVRO fleet.
Under the deal, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain.
The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
The first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years after the contract implementation.
All the IAF C295s will be handed over in transport configuration and equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite, Airbus said.
“This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “The C295 has proven again as the segment leader, and with the addition of India as a new operator, the type will enlarge its footprint even more, not only on the operational aspects but on its own industrial and technological development”.
Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, said, “This is a moment of pride for Tatas and a milestone for the Indian military manufacturing ecosystem. For the first time, an Indian private company will be wholly manufacturing an aircraft in India. This endeavour demonstrates Tata Advanced Systems’ capabilities as a defence manufacturer to build globally competitive complex platforms in India.”
This is the first time a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.
The deal for the twin turboprop transport aircraft will bring much-needed relief not only for European aerospace giant Airbus, which has seen its campaigns for lucrative defence contracts in India fail over the last few years, but also for the IAF and the domestic defence industry.
The IAF becomes the 35th C295 operator worldwide, with the programme reaching 278 aircraft, 200 of which are already in operation and have booked more than half a million flight-hours.
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