In another boost to the Make in India initiative, the Indian Air Force announced it is in the process of acquiring C-295MW transport aircrafts, which is to be manufactured in India.
The transport aircraft is to be used for various roles as and will have a cargo-carrying capacity of between 18 to 30 tonnes, the IAF said on Friday.
India has embarked on a major defence indigenisation program to locally manufacture most of its defence equipments including various defence platforms such as missiles, field guns, tanks, aircraft carriers, drones, fighter planes, tanks, and helicopters.
It may be recalled, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a transport aircraft manufacturing project for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Vadodara, Gujarat on October 30, 2022.
This was after the government approved the procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain. Under the project, the manufacturing of over 13,400 detail parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all the seven major component assemblies will be undertaken in India, along with tools, jigs and testers.
C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5 to 10 ton capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the Indian Airforce. It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo. Short take-off and landing from semi-prepared surfaces is another of its features. The aircraft will strengthen the logistic capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
The Centre informed that a total of 16 aircrafts will be imported in a flyaway condition from Spain within 48 hours of signing the contract while 40 aircraft will be manufactured in India indigenously by the TATA Consortium within ten years of the signing of the contract.
The project is the first of its type in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company. The Centre informed that all 56 aircrafts will be installed with the indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.
“The project is considered to give a boost to the aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread across the Nation will be involved in the production of parts for the aircraft”, the Defence Ministry stated.
“The project will also provide a major lift to the Narendra Modi-led `Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ for it offers a unique opening for the Indian Private Sector to enter into the technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation Industry. The project will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and an expected increase in exports,” the Ministry added.
A government’s release also stated that a large number of detail parts, sub-assemblies and major component assemblies of Aero-structure are scheduled to be manufactured in India.
“The programme will act as a catalyst in employment generation in the aerospace ecosystem of the country and is expected to employ 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3000 indirect jobs and an additional 3000 medium skill employment opportunities with more than 42.5 lakh man-hours of work within the aerospace and defence sector of India,” the statement noted.
Before completion of deliveries, ‘D’ Level servicing facility Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) for the C-295MW aircraft are also being scheduled to be set up in India. It is expected that this facility will act as a regional MRO hub for various variants of C-295 aircraft.
Additionally, the original equipment manufacturer, (OEM) will also release its offset obligations through direct purchase of eligible products and services from Indian Offset Partners giving a further boost to the economy, the Defence Ministry stated.