Manufacturing ecosystem for Airbus C-295 aircraft taking shape in India

Manufacturing ecosystem for Airbus C-295 aircraft taking shape in India

Manufacturing ecosystem for Airbus C-295 aircraft taking shape in India


The first C-295 transport aircraft will be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in September; in preparation, Airbus has trained six pilots in Seville, and 20-person maintenance staff is presently undergoing training.

What is the speciality of Airbus C-295 Aircraft?

  • Origins and Development:
    • CASA (Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA), a Spanish aerospace manufacturer, started design work on the C295 in the 1990s as a derivative of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 cargo aircraft.
    • On November 28, 1997, the C-295 prototype took flight for the first time.
    • A few times after the successful maiden flight, quantity production started.
  • Launch Operational and Customer Services:
    • The Spanish Air Force placed the initial order for nine C-295s in April 1999, becoming the model’s launch client.
    • The C-295 was made operational with the Spanish Air Force in 2001, demonstrating its suitability for duty.
    • The C-295 was then swiftly ordered by other nations, demonstrating the growing demand for it on the global market.
  • Designation Change:
    • In the year 2000, CASA was integrated into the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
    • Consequently, the aircraft’s name was changed to EADS CASA C-295, reflecting its association with the larger multinational group.
  • Manufacturing and Assembly:
    • Manufacturing and final assembly of the C-295 primarily take place at Airbus Defence and Space facilities in San Pablo Airport, Seville, Spain.
    • To meet the demand from other regions, manufacturing agreements have been made with some customers.
    • Notably, Indonesian Aerospace began producing the CN-295 under license at its Bandung, Indonesia facilities through a collaboration with Airbus Defence & Space in 2011.
  • Flexibility and aptitudes:
    • The C-295 is a flexible aircraft that can successfully carry out a variety of tasks.
    • Tactical transport, cargo dropping, parachute operations, electronic signals intelligence (ELINT), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and marine patrol are just a few of the missions it can be customized for.
    • Pallets can be used to attach specialized equipment, making it simple to install and remove as needed for operational purposes.
  • Civil Version and Commercial Pursuit:
    • Even though the C-295 was primarily targeted at the military and government markets, efforts to create a commercial variant were not aggressively explored until much later.
    • The C-295 entered the commercial aviation market in 2017 with the signing of the first contract for one.
  • Worldwide Presence:
    • Several countries, including Spain, Egypt, Poland, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, and others have purchased the C-295.
    • It has supported operations around the world in places like the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Chad.

How is India going to insert these planes into Indian Air Force?

  • Acquisition Agreement:
    1.  In September 2021, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Airbus and Space S.A., Spain, agreed to a 22,000 crore agreement for the purchase of 56 C-295MW cargo planes.
    2. The IAF will use this procurement to replace the current Avro aircraft currently in service.
  • Training Regimn:
    1. Six pilots were trained by Airbus in Seville before the first C-295 aircraft was delivered.
    2. A 20-person maintenance staff is also now receiving training to assist in the upkeep and operation of the new aircraft. Ground-breaking ceremonies for a training centre were performed in March at the Air Force Station in Agra.
    3. By the end of 2024, a full-motion simulator that will be included in the training centre is anticipated to be delivered.
    4. Pilots and crew members can practice in realistic training situations thanks to the simulator.
  • Final Assembly Line (FAL):
    1.  In collaboration with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), Airbus is establishing a Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Vadodara.
    2. By the middle of 2024, the FAL is anticipated to be ready, and by November 2024, manufacturing will start.
    3. The manufacturing of the final 40 aircraft in India will take place here.
  • Indigenous  Production:
    1.  Following the deal, 16 aircraft will be produced in the Airbus plant in Seville, Spain.
    2. Airbus and TASL will work together to produce the final 40 aircraft in India.
  • Production Schedule: 
    1. The second C-295 aircraft is expected to be delivered in May 2024, and then seven more at a pace of one per month are expected to be delivered in 2024.
    2. In September 2026, the nation of India is anticipated to deliver its first aeroplane.
  • Obligations:
    1. Significant “Make-in-India” and offset responsibilities are a part of the arrangement.
    2. In addition to the “Make in India” standards, Airbus has agreed to meet 30% of its offset obligations.
    3. This would increase India’s capacity for defence manufacturing because a sizeable amount of the production and related tasks will be done there.
  • Localized Systems:
    1. The indigenous radar warning receiver and missile approach warning systems of the C-295 aircraft will be produced by Bharat Electronics Limited.
    2. The aircraft will also be equipped with a countermeasure dispensing system produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

In conclusion, the purchase of C-295 transport planes represents a significant advancement for the Indian Air Force, with an emphasis on ‘Make-in-India’ programs and homegrown production capabilities. The project is expected to improve the IAF’s operational capabilities and help India’s defence sector expand.