In a major boost to the domestic industry, the Defence Ministry on Friday signed a deal worth over Rs 20,000 crore with Airbus Defence and Space of Spain for 56 “C-295” medium transport aircraft. They will replace the ageing Avro-748 planes of the Indian Air Force inducted into service in the 1960s.
It is the first project of its kind under which military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company. While India will procure 16 aircraft off-the-shelf from Airbus within 48 months of inking the deal, the remaining planes will be manufactured here by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) within ten years of signing the contract.
The planes will be manufactured by a consortium of the Airbus Defence and Tata, officials said here. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cleared the deal on September 9.
The in-principle approval for the Avro replacement programme was accorded around nine years ago. A large number of detail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of aerostructure are scheduled to be manufactured in India.
Hailing the inking of the deal, Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata described the contract as a “great step” forward in the opening up of the aviation and avionics sector in the country.
“The clearance of the joint project between Airbus Defence and Tata Advanced Systems to build the C-295 is a great step forward in the opening up of the aviation and avionics projects in India,” Tata said in a statement.
“The C-295 is a multi-role aircraft with several configurations to meet mission requirements. It envisages total manufacturing of the aircraft in India,” he said.
He also said, “It will create a domestic supply chain capability to international standards, which has never been undertaken before. The Tata Group congratulates Airbus and the Indian Defence Ministry for this bold step in fully building this state-of-the-art multi-role aircraft in India in support of the Make-in-India thrust to bolster the country’s equity framework.
Airbus said the first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years after the contract implementation and that all the planes will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite (EWS).
“This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.