On a momentous day in the history of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally inducted the first C-295 medium tactical transport aircraft into the IAF’s arsenal. This landmark event took place in the presence of Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other top military officials in Ghaziabad. The C-295 aircraft represents a significant upgrade for the IAF, offering versatility and modern capabilities for a wide range of missions.
About the C-295 Aircraft
The new generation C-295, manufactured by Airbus, is a highly versatile tactical transport aircraft designed to meet the evolving needs of modern military operations. This aircraft is tailored for a variety of missions, including troop and cargo transport, maritime patrol, signals intelligence, and medical evacuation. Its flexibility and adaptability make it a valuable asset for the Indian Air Force.
Payload and Capacity
The C-295 aircraft boasts impressive payload capacity, capable of carrying up to nine tonnes of cargo or accommodating as many as 71 troops. This remarkable capacity ensures that the IAF can efficiently transport both personnel and equipment to various locations, enhancing its operational capabilities significantly. Furthermore, the aircraft can cruise at a maximum speed of 260 knots, ensuring rapid response in critical situations.
Replacement of Ageing Avro-748 Fleets
The induction of the C-295 aircraft marks a crucial step in the IAF’s efforts to modernize its fleet. The ageing Avro-748 planes, which have served the air force for over six decades, are now being replaced to meet contemporary operational requirements. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari received the first of the 56 C295 transport aircraft on September 13, two years after India sealed a ₹21,935-crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space for their procurement.
Collaboration with Airbus and Tata Advanced Systems
Under the comprehensive agreement with Airbus, the first 16 C-295 aircraft will be delivered in ‘fly-away’ condition from Airbus’s final assembly line in Seville by 2025. Subsequently, the remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled in India, thanks to a strategic partnership between Airbus and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL). The production of aircraft components has already commenced in the Main Constituent Assembly (MCA) facility in Hyderabad, signifying a significant milestone in India’s self-reliance in defense manufacturing.
Versatility in Mission Profiles
The C-295 aircraft offers unmatched versatility and can perform an array of missions. Apart from troop and cargo transport, it can airdrop paratroops and loads, making it an essential asset for airborne operations. Additionally, the aircraft is equipped for casualty and medical evacuation, ensuring timely and effective medical support in crisis situations. Moreover, it can be deployed for special missions, disaster response, and maritime patrol duties, showcasing its adaptability in various scenarios.