C-295 maker, Airbus, rides on Aatmanirbhar Bharat - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 3 March 2022

C-295 maker, Airbus, rides on Aatmanirbhar Bharat

A Portuguese Air Force C-295, taking off in misty weather


By Ajai Shukla

3rd March 2022


Buoyed by signing a $2.5 billion contract last September with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 56 Airbus C-295 medium transport aircraft, European aerospace major, Airbus, stated on Wednesday that it “will display its comprehensive range of defence and space capabilities at DefExpo 2022.”


DefExpo 2022 billed as India’s flagship defence exhibition, will be held from March 10-14, in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar.


Success has not come easily to Airbus in the Indian market. It has participated in severalIndian military aircraft tenders, and even won some, only to see them slip out of its hands at the last moment.


Contests aborted by the Indian MoD at the last minute include two mid-air refuelling tanker contests, in which Airbus fielded the A-330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft. In addition, it has participated in three light utility helicopter tenders, fielding the H135M and AS565 Panther. Finally, it unsuccessfully fielded the H225M Caracal in a nail-biting Indian campaign to buy naval multirole helicopters.


“Scale models of the versatile A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft as well as the multi-role AS565 MBe (Panther) and H225M helicopters will find a pride of place among other products and services at the Airbus booth,” said Airbus. 


“The company, with a strong legacy of working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its commercial arm NewSpace India Ltd., will also display its extensive space systems portfolio, including its range of EO satellites that can serve the requirements of the Indian armed forces,” said Airbus.


A company release states says it will display a model of the Eurostar 3000 satellite and an interactive digital presentation of the S950 optical and S850 radar at Gandhinagar.


Airbus says it is not just actively supporting the Indian military’s modernisation goals, but is committed to manufacturing in India to meet the ambition of an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (Self-reliant India).


“Airbus’ commitment to building a robust indigenous military-industrial complex is demonstrated by the offer to set up the complete production capability for the Panther helicopter in India in partnership with the Mahindra group,” said the company.


For now, Airbus is savouring the success of the C-295 win. This requires Airbus to deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its assembly line in Seville, Spain. The remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled in India by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), as part of an industrial partnership between Airbus and TASL.


This will be the first time an Indian private company will be wholly manufacturing an aircraft in India.


The C-295, which is replacing the HS-748 Avro, can transport up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers with battle loads. The aircraft can ferry supplies to locations that are inaccessible to the IAF’s heavy lift aircraft, such as the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Super Hercules or Ilyushin 76.


The IAF will become the 35thoperator of the C-295 worldwide. Airbus has obtained orders worldwide for 278 of these aircraft, of which 200 are already in operation. The C-295 has logged more than half a million flight-hours.


"Our C-295 programme is a shining example of the transformational partnership and collaboration between the private and public sectors as well as MSMEs. We hope to replicate this win-win model to unlock the full value chain for helicopter manufacturing in India,” said Rémi Maillard, President and MD, Airbus India & South Asia.

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