As the government envisions the transformation of the defense sector through its ambitious indigenous programs, several projects for domestic manufacturing of defense platforms and equipment such as missiles, field guns, tanks, carriers planes, drones, fighter jets and helicopters are underway, fulfilling the modernization needs of the armed forces, they noted.
However, military transport aircraft were one of the critical missing links in the entire chain of the defense industrial complex, officials added, saying the joint venture between Tata and Airbus has filled this missing piece and will significantly strengthen the “Make in India” program.
India’s armed forces will no longer have to rely on older 1960-generation Avro jets for their transportation needs, officials said.
The Tata-Airbus combination had said that the manufacturing of the C295 is the first Make in India aerospace program in the private sector involving the comprehensive development of a comprehensive industrial ecosystem.
This involves manufacturing through assembly, testing and qualification, delivery and maintenance of the aircraft’s full life cycle, they said.
Under the terms of the agreement, 16 C295 aircraft are expected to be delivered between September 2023 and August 2025 in airworthy condition, while the remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured at the Vadodara plant, they noted.
In another first, indigenous content in planes will be the highest ever in India, and 96% of work done by Airbus in Spain will now be done at the new factory, they added.
The Ministry of Defense said that this project provides a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter the technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation industry.
It will increase domestic aviation manufacturing, which will reduce import dependency and an expected increase in exports, the ministry said.
In addition, 13,400 parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all major component assemblies will be manufactured by 25 domestic MSME suppliers across seven states, officials said.
All of these 56 aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous electronic warfare suite developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
With the launch of the C295 aircraft manufacturing facility, they said, India will become the 12th country with the capability to manufacture such aircraft.
Currently, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Brazil, China and Japan have this capability, they added.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the military transport aircraft industry is expected to reach $45 billion by 2030. The Tata-Airbus facility is expected to complete its IAF engagement by 2031 and may also begin exporting its products to other countries, they said. .
Noting that the military transport aircraft industry is much more robust and technologically advanced than that of commercial airliners, they said that C295 manufacturing will also open up growth prospects for domestic commercial aircraft manufacturing.
Indian airlines are one of the biggest buyers of commercial jets with a steadily expanding order book of 1,100 planes since 2011.
The demand for commercial aircraft associated with the C295 aircraft manufacturing plant and associated supply chain will create the necessary ecosystem to support the development of the commercial aircraft manufacturing industry in India, said the responsibles.
The Vadodara plant will initially be designed to manufacture eight aircraft each year, but it has been designed in such a way that it can also meet the additional needs of the Indian Armed Forces or exports, they said.
According to the Ministry of Defence, after the delivery of 56 aircraft to the IAF, the combine will be allowed to sell Indian-built C295 aircraft to civilian operators and government authorized countries.
The Vadodara facility is believed to replicate Brahmos’ success in missile exports, officials added.