Airbus Defence and Space has officially handed over in fly-away condition the first of 56 C295 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to begin replacing its ageing Avros-748 fleet.
The C295, in transport configuration and with an indigenous electronic warfare suite, will leave Airbus' production site in Seville, Spain, for Delhi, India, in the next few days, piloted by a joint IAF-Airbus crew.
"It was only two years ago that we signed this contract with India, the largest order in the history of the C295," said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus' Head of Military Air Systems, in a delivery ceremony held in Seville in the presence of India's Ambassador to Spain Dinesh K. Patnaik and Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff, IAF.
"Today, we are enhancing the capabilities of the Indian Air Force and modernising its transport fleet by delivering the first aircraft on schedule. This is the beginning of an exciting and long-term journey with the Indian Air Force."
The first 16 C295s of the 56 aircraft on order will be assembled at the San Pablo Sur site in Seville, Spain, with the second aircraft due to be delivered in May 2024 and the next 14 rolled out at a rate of one per month until August 2025.
To boost self-reliance in the defence-manufacturing sector in India, the remaining 40 C295s of the IAF order will be manufactured and assembled - in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) - at a Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Vadodara in western India.
The production of components of these aircraft has already started in the Main Constituent Assembly (MCA) facility in Hyderabad, southern India. These parts will be shipped to the Vadovara FAL, which is expected to be operational by November 2024.
The first 'Make in India' C295 will roll out of the Vadodara FAL in September 2026 in what will be a milestone for the Indian aerospace industry; the final aircraft expected to be delivered to the IAF by August 2031.
With 283 orders from 41 operators, the C295 is the undisputed leader in its segment and stands out for its versatility. It can carry up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, airdrop cargo, be used for medical evacuation and take off and land in short and unpaved runways.