Central government clears 21,000 crore rupee deal to buy 56 military transport planes from Airbus Defense and Space; 40 will be made in India by the Tata consortium


After being put on the back burner for more than six years, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on September 8 approved the purchase of 56 Airbus C295 MW twin-turboprop transport aircraft from Airbus Defense and Space for the Indian air force. (IAF).

The $ 2.8 billion (21,000 crore rupee) agreement provides for the delivery of 16 air-conditioned C295 MW aircraft by the original equipment manufacturer of the Airbus production plant in Spain in the two years after signing the contract, the other 40 being manufactured. in India by the Tata Consortium over a period of 10 years.

A versatile, all-weather 9.5 tonne class tactical transport aircraft, the C295 MW is expected to replace the IAF’s aging Avro-748 fleet that entered service in the early 1960s. The C295 aircraft, which is equipped with A rear ramp door for rapid reaction and parachuting of troops and cargo, should also take on certain tasks of the Antonov An-32, another IAF workhorse. The 56 planes will be installed with native electronic warfare suites.

The C295MW deal will see for the first time an Indian private sector consortium / company producing a military aircraft in India under a technology transfer agreement from a foreign original equipment manufacturer. Until now, only the state-owned defense company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has had a virtual monopoly in the field of licensed production of military combat and transport aircraft.

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, the C295 MW project “offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter the technologically intensive and highly competitive aviation industry, thus giving a boost to the ecosystem. aerospace industry in India ”. The C295 agreement is expected to provide the opportunity for several MSMEs located across the country to get involved in manufacturing parts for the aircraft.

The spokesperson said, “The C295 MW program will increase domestic aircraft manufacturing, resulting in reduced dependence on imports and an expected increase in exports. A large number of retail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of aerodynamic structures are expected to be manufactured in India. The program is expected to directly generate 600 highly skilled jobs, over 3,000 indirect jobs and 3,000 additional mid-skill job opportunities with over 42.5 lakh man-hours of work in the aerospace and defense sector. …. Prior to completion of deliveries, a Level D MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operation) facility for the C295MW aircraft is expected to be put in place in India. It is expected that this facility will serve as a regional MRO hub for various variants of the C295 aircraft. “

The Tata-Airbus C295 project was approved by the Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC), headed by then Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, in May 2015.

In a related move, the CCS also gave the green light for six AEW & C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft for the IAF. To be built on the Airbus A319 aircraft platform by the Center for Airborne Systems of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) based in Bengaluru as part of a project of Rs. 11,000 crore, the six planes will be modified to fly with radar which will provide a 360-degree surveillance capability. The aircraft will further enhance IAF surveillance capabilities along the borders with China and Pakistan. The six Airbus A319s are to be supplied by the state-owned Air India, reversing the earlier expectation that India was seeking to procure six Airbus A330s from the European company.

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