Seville: Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhari held talks with Spain’s Defence Minister Margarita Robles and discussed matters pertaining to strengthening the bilateral relationship between both countries.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the IAF chief’s visit to Spain to receive made-for-India C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus.
Taking to X, India Air Force informed, “On the sidelines of his visit to formally accept the first C-295 aircraft, the CAS Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari called on the Defence Minister of Spain, Ms Margarita Robles. Matters pertaining to strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries were discussed during the meeting.
On September 13, the Head of Defence and Aerospace, Airbus, Jean-Brice Dumont gave symbolic keys of the C295 aircraft to IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari. IAF Chief Chaudhari on receiving the delivery of the aircraft called it as a major milestone for India and said the induction of aircraft would improve IAF’s tactical airlift capabilities.
The Air Chief said, “It is a major milestone not only for IAF but for the whole country. This is for two reasons – first, for IAF it improves our tactical airlift capabilities. For a nation, it marks the beginning of a new era.”
After receiving symbolic keys from the Airbus officials, the IAF chief marked the occasion as a momentous day and said it is the beginning of a new era. He said, “It is a momentous day for us, for the IAF in particular and a nation as a whole to be receiving the first aircraft which marks the beginning of a new era, wherein we will be manufacturing 40 of these aircraft in India. This starts a new era where we will be manufacturing military aircraft in India.
“Moreover, on the handing over of C-295 transport aircraft to India, Airbus Head of Defence and Aerospace Jean-Brice Dumont said that Make in India and Prime Minister Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat are at the heart of his company and pointed to his team members saying they will have to learn ‘Bharat’. The aircraft is the first of 16 C-295 that was produced in Spain and the remaining 40 will be made in an Indian facility in Gujarat’s Vadodara under a joint venture of Tata and Airbus.
The aircraft is expected to be inducted formally into the service at a ceremony in Hindon around September last week. The Indian Air Force chief was personally involved in the contract at important stages as Deputy Chief of Air Staff where he was leading the contract negotiations.
Indian Defence Ministry and Airbus Defence and Space, Spain signed a contract for procurement of 56 C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force in September 2021. C-295MW aircraft is a transport aircraft of 5-10 Tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The aircraft has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para dropping of troops and cargo. Sixteen aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months of signing of the contract and forty aircraft will be manufactured in India by TATA Consortium within 10 years of the signing of the contract.
This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company. All 56 aircraft will be installed with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite. The project will give a boost to the aerospace ecosystem in India in which several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in the manufacturing of parts of the aircraft, according to a press release of the Ministry of Defence.
The programme will provide a major boost to the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ of the Government as it offers a unique opportunity for the Indian Private Sector to enter into a technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation Industry. The project is expected to augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and an expected increase in exports.