The Indian Air Force’s aged 56 Avro aircraft were purchased in the 1960s, and the Defence Ministry inked a $22,000-crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain, on Friday to replace them with 56 C-295MW transport planes.
This is the first initiative of its type in which a military aircraft would be built in India thanks to private-sector technology transfer.
“An Indian private firm will be fully producing an aeroplane in India for the first time. Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), told a small group of journalists that the company’s collaboration with Airbus would “actually take raw aluminium ingots on one end and turn it into a flyaway aeroplane on the other end.” “To be able to claim that Tata has expanded from salt and software to automobiles and now aircraft is a matter of tremendous privilege.”
It had been 11 years since the Tata Group agreed to collaborate on the project with Airbus. Mr. Singh pointed out that this was one of the final initiatives that former Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata helped put together during his tenure.
TASL, on the other hand, had not yet decided where the production plant would be located. Tata and Airbus examined over 100 sites in detail, evaluating a variety of variables such as the length of the runway, infrastructure availability, and sociological indices, among others. He indicated that a final decision has yet to be made.
“The aircraft will provide a significant boost to the IAF’s tactical airlift capabilities, particularly in the northern and northeastern regions, as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” the Defence Ministry stated.
Sixteen of the 56 planes will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months, while the rest will be built in India by the Tata Group within ten years of the contract’s signing.
The first aircraft will be delivered to the IAF in two years, according to Rémi Maillard, President of Airbus India and Managing Director of the South Asia region. The delivery of 16 aircraft in flyaway condition will be completed in four years, according to Rémi Maillard, President of Airbus India and Managing Director of the South Asia region.
“Eventually, the C-295 will be built in India, with the creation of 15,000 direct employment and 10,000 indirect jobs over the next ten years, and that is extremely significant,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus Executive Vice President Military Aircraft.
The C295, with a payload of 5-10 tonnes, is utilised for tactical transport of up to 71 soldiers or 50 paratroopers, as well as logistic missions to areas inaccessible to larger aircraft. It has also shown that it can operate from short or unprepared airstrips.
The Ministry of Defense has also inked an offset deal with Airbus Defence and Space, under which Airbus would fulfill its offset commitments by purchasing qualifying goods and services directly from Indian offset partners.
According to Airbus, the IAF is the 35th C295 operator in the globe, with the programme now totaling 278 aircraft, 200 of which are currently in service and have logged more than half a million flying hours.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accepted the single proposal by Airbus and the Tata Group in May 2015. The Request For Proposal (RFP) was sent to worldwide companies in May 2013, and the sole bid by Airbus and the Tata Group was authorised by the DAC in May 2015. The final agreement, on the other hand, has been frequently postponed.
Source: The Hindu