The manufacturing facility for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Airbus C-295 MW transport aircraft (previously EADS CASA C-295) is being constructed in Vadodara, Gujarat.
The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the purchase of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain, on September 8, 2021. The Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space S.A. on September 24, 2021, to acquire the aircraft and supporting equipment.
The Indian Contractor, TATA Consortium, led by TASL and consisting of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), will manufacture 40 aircraft in India as part of the contract, according to Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar, speaking at a media briefing in New Delhi on October 27, 2022. This is the first initiative where a private company in India will produce a military aircraft. The overall project cost is Rs 21,935 crore. The aircraft is also suitable for civilian usage.
IAF’s ageing Avro aircraft will be replaced with the C-295MW, a transport aircraft with a capacity of 5 to 10 tonnes and equipped with cutting-edge technology. It has a rear ramp door for rapid deployment of personnel and cargo using parachutes. It also has the ability to take off and land on semi-prepared surfaces in a short distance. The aircraft will enhance the IAF’s logistical capabilities.
The first 16 fly-away aircraft are expected to be delivered between September 2023 and August 2025. The first aircraft manufactured in India is anticipated in September 2026.
Made in India
The project offers the Indian private sector a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enter the technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation business. It will improve domestic aircraft production, resulting in less reliance on imports and an anticipated increase in exports.
Also, the TATA Consortium will do 96% of the total man hours per aircraft that Airbus employs at its manufacturing facilities in Spain. Along with tools, jigs, and testers, over 13,400 Detail Parts, 4,600 sub assemblies, and all seven Major Component Assemblies will be manufactured in India. TATA Consortium will integrate several systems, including engines, landing gear, avionics, electronic warfare suite, etc., given by Airbus Defence & Space and installed on the aircraft. The TATA Consortium will test the aircraft as an integrated system. The aircraft will be flight-tested and delivered through the TATA Consortium’s Delivery Centre.
All 56 aircraft will be outfitted with an indigenous Electronic Warfare suite developed by two Indian DPSUs, Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Ltd. After the delivery of 56 aircraft to the Indian Air Force, Airbus Defence & Space will be permitted to sell aircraft made in India to civil operators and export to nations approved by the Indian government.
The TATA Consortium has spotted more than 125 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seven states. This will act as a catalyst for job creation in the country’s aerospace ecosystem and is anticipated to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, about 3,000 indirect jobs, and an additional 3,000 medium skill employment opportunities with over 42.5 lakh man hours of work in the aerospace and defence sector of India. Nearly 240 engineers will be trained in Spain at an Airbus facility.
The Next steps
During the implementation of the project, the TATA Consortium will be involved in specialised processes and will gain National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) accreditation, which is recognised worldwide.
Nadcap is an industry-managed approach to conformity assessment of “special processes”, which brings together technical specialists from prime contractors, suppliers, and government representatives to create requirements for supplier certification based on a defined methodology. In contrast to conventional third-party processes, Nadcap clearance is based on industry consensus.
India will establish a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility for C-295MW aircraft that is anticipated to serve as a regional MRO hub for multiple C-295 versions. The OEM will directly purchase qualified items and services from Indian Offset Partners as part of its offset commitment.
A D-Level (Depot-Level) operator undertakes activities requiring extensive overhaul or a complete rebuild of parts, assemblies, subassemblies, and end items, including the production of parts, modification, testing, and reclamation, as required.
Airbus C295 MW
The Airbus C295 is a tactical airlifter of a new generation in the light and medium categories. As per the manufacturer, it is durable and dependable, as well as highly versatile in terms of the variety of missions it can accomplish. The C295 performs global multi-role operations in all weather situations. It is fully certified and consistently runs day and night in combat operations in all climatic extremes, including desert, maritime, and extremely hot and cold conditions.