Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted its first C-295 tactical transport aircraft in an induction ceremony held today (25 September) at Hindon air-force base, Ghaziabad.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, joined the event along with other high-ranking IAF officials and representatives from Airbus, the aircraft manufacturer.
Following the induction, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh participated in a 'Sarva Dharma Pooja' conducted in the hangar, symbolising the significance of this addition to the IAF's fleet.
ACM Chaudhari, just two weeks ago (on 13 September), took delivery of this aircraft in a ceremony conducted at the Airbus factory in Seville, Spain. Subsequently the aircraft was flown to India at Vadodara airbase in Gujarat (on 20 September) by a joint team of Airbus and IAF.
In September 2021, India signed a deal with Airbus to procure 56 C-295M transport aircraft, valued at $2.5 billion.
These 56 aircraft are intended to replace the aging Avro HS748 transport aircraft currently in the IAF's fleet. Of the 56 C-295s, the initial batch of 16 aircraft will be constructed by Airbus Defence and Space at its facility in Seville.
The remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured at the new Tata-Airbus facility in Vadodara. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of this facility in Vadodara in October 2022.
The C-295 is capable of carrying six tonnes of payload in five cargo pallets, 71 troops, or a maximum of 50 paratroopers.
This 24.46-metre-long aircraft can take off and land on short and unprepared airstrips that are not accessible to heavier transport aircraft like the C-17 Globemaster-III or IL-76.
This capability allows the aircraft to supply troops in remote areas near the India-China border, landing on advanced landing grounds such as Daulat Beg Oldie in the Depsang Plains.
The second C-295 is in advanced stages of assembly and will be delivered to the IAF by May 2024, with the remaining 14 flyaway airframes to be delivered by August 2025.
Apart from the initial 16, the remaining 40 aircraft are scheduled for delivery by August 2031.
Production of the first 'Made-in-India' airframe began on 19 July at the Tata Advanced Systems Limited facility in Hyderabad.
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