Indian Aerospace Sector Excited About the Tata-Airbus Project

Indian Aerospace Sector Excited About the Tata-Airbus Project

On the 7th of September, the Indian aerospace industry experienced what can be termed, ‘a major shift/advancement’ as the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the acquisition of 56 C-295MW medium transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for the Indian Air Force (IAF), in a deal worth $2.5-3 billion. 

The committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed off on the deal which has been pending for close to a decade. This project becomes the first in India in which a military aircraft is manufactured in the private sector. 

Out of the 56 aircrafts to be manufactured, 16 would be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months of signing the contract. The other 40 will be built in India by Tata Aerospace and Defence (Tata A & D) within 10 years of contract signature. 

8 from the 40 C-295MW’s will be produced from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits and another 8 will be from completely knocked down (CKD) kits. The remaining 24 are to be built in India by Tata A&D, incrementally indigenizing the assemblies and sub-assemblies which may be a challenge for the European Airbus. 

This means that all of the 56 aircraft will be installed with indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite. Airbus is therefore meant to buy eligible products and services from Indian offset partners. While Airbus has been in the country for close to 50 years, this is its first contract with Defence.

“The Tata-airbus project will give a boost to the aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft. The C-295 aircraft can even find some buyers in the civil aviation market at a later stage,” said an official.

“Before completion of deliveries, a D-level MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) facility for the C-295MW aircraft is scheduled to be set up in India. It is expected this facility will act as a regional MRO hub for various variants of C-295 aircraft,” he added.

A comprehensive article by NC Airways revealed that this move by the Security Committee is projected to bring 600 highly skilled jobs directly, and at least 3,000 indirect jobs. In addition, 3,000 medium-skill jobs along with more than 4.25-million-man hours of work in the aerospace and defence sector of India. As is expected, the Indian aerospace and aircraft defence sector will experience a major employment and economic boost. 

Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, said, “The manufacturing of the aircraft domestically will be the trigger to develop a total aerospace ecosystem in India”.

The C-295 is a fighter transporter that requires just 700 metres of runway to lift off and climbs rapidly to mission altitude. Its rear ramp door allows for quick loading and unloading and for para dropping of troops and cargo.

The transporter has multiple mission capabilities such as transporting 71 persons, lifting 7.25 tonnes of cargo or monitoring the sea for 11 hours non-stop, using sophisticated radar and infra-red scanners. It requires just 350 metres to land.

Airbus is excited about the Cabinet’s decision and have expressed their anticipation to sign and execute the contract with Tata A & D.

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