IAF to Receive First Airbus C295 Transport Aircraft in September

Indian Air Force

New Delhi: In a boost to the nation’s air defence, the Indian Air Force will receive its first C295 military transport aircraft in September, the first of 16 that will be built by Airbus. The deal for 56 aircraft was signed by India in October 2021.

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IAF crews will carry out acceptance trials of India’s first C295 transport aircraft at the Airbus Defence and Space’s Seville facility in southern Spain in early September before taking delivery of the plane, according to media reports quoting Airbus officials aware of the matter. The first 16 C295 aircraft will be delivered to the IAF by Airbus in flyaway condition from Spain. Remaining forty planes are to be built in India, and work on domestic production is in full swing, the report said citing officials.

The delivery of first C295 to India will set in motion a crucial ‘Make in India’ project worth  Rs 21,935 crore to equip the IAF with 56 such aircraft. Compared to the decade of inertia that the project had to navigate before being approved, the next few weeks will see a rapid burst of major milestones in India’s acquisition of the C295 new generation military transport aircraft.

The deal for 56 aircraft, signed by India in October 2021, is the first-ever aircraft manufacturing enterprise in the country led by the private sector. So far, military aircraft manufacturing has been a total monopoly of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Alongside preparations for delivery of the first C295 aircraft, an inaugural batch of Indian Air Force pilots has completed flight training and will shortly make way for a second batch. The Indian pilots are all qualified on the IAF’s existing British vintage HS748 Avros – which the C295 airplanes will directly replace – and workhorse Ukrainian Antonov An-32s – which the C295 could potentially replace going forward.

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“It is unprecedented for Airbus,” says Jorge Tamarit, head of the C295 program in India. “This is the first time the company is deploying a full production system to another country.”