The formal induction ceremony of the twin-turboprop C-295 transport aircraft, which can carry up to nine-tonne of payload or 71 soldiers with a “short take-off and land” capability from semi-prepared surfaces in hilly terrain, will take place at the Hindon air-base on September 25.
While the first 16 C-295s are to be delivered in a flyaway condition by Airbus in the 2023-25 timeframe, the remaining 40 will be produced at the new Tata-Airbus facility at Vadodara in Gujarat.
Induction of the C-295s, which will gradually replace the old Avro-748 fleet, in the 2023-31 timeframe will boost the IAF‘s tactical airlift capability along the border with China, as also other places like the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
The C-295s, which will be equipped with indigenous electronic warfare systems, also have rear ramp doors for quick-reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo. This is the first time a military aircraft will be manufactured by the private sector in India, breaking the virtual monopoly of defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics for decades.
After the first 40 C-295s, the Tata-Airbus facility is also likely to manufacture more such aircraft for the armed forces and civil operators as well as for exports in the future.
The Tata-Airbus project had been hanging fire for around a decade before the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the procurement of the 56 C-295 aircraft in September 2021, as was then reported by TOI.