IAF to get 56 Airbus planes worth Rs 21,000 crore 

Out of the 56, Airbus will deliver 16 aircraft in flyway conditions within four years, whereas, the remaining 40 will be produced in India by a joint partnership between Tata Group and Airbus Spain. This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India under technology transfer by a private company and is expected to cost close to $3bn.

The Union Ministry of Defence on Friday officially signed the contract of Rs 21,000 crore with Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain to acquire 56 C-295 transport aircraft that will replace the ageing Avro in the Indian Air Force.

Out of the 56, Airbus will deliver 16 aircraft in flyway conditions within four years, whereas, the remaining 40 will be produced in India by a joint partnership between Tata Group and Airbus Spain. This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India under technology transfer by a private company and is expected to cost close to $3bn.

The collaboration between Airbus and Tata had been hanging around for almost a decade and it was cleared by Cabinet Committee on Security on September 8. Airbus executive vice-president (military aircraft) Brice Dumont said that The project will create 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs over the next 10 years.

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“Sixteen aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months of the signing of the contract and 40 aircraft will be manufactured in India by Tata Consortium within 10 years of the signing of the contract,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

The highly-versatile C-295 aircraft, which can carry up to 9-tonne of payload or 71 soldiers, is capable of operating from semi-prepared strips and has a rear ramp door for quick-reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo.

“For the first time, an Indian private company will be wholly manufacturing an aircraft in India. Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), in partnership with Airbus, will literally take raw aluminium ingots on one end and convert them into a flyaway aircraft on the other end,” Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, TASL, told media persons earlier. “It’s certainly a matter of great privilege to be able to say that Tata’s have now extended themselves from salt and software to cars to making planes now.”

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The deal has become even more critical for the IAF as a separate project to jointly co-develop and produce a Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) of 20 tonnes with Russia to replace the An-32s in service was scrapped after initial design discussions.