The procurement of new military transport aircraft by the Tata-Airbus joint venture has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). This is the first such military aviation contract awarded to an Indian commercial company.
The contract is expected to create around 6,600 employments over the next few years while also bringing cutting-edge technology. As reported by The Economic Times, the agreement for 56 of the C295MW transport aircraft, worth more than 15,000 crore, has been in the works since 2012. It eventually reached the CCS in February this year.
While 16 aircraft would be purchased from the aerospace company Airbus Defence in Spain, the rest will be built at a Tata factory in India over a 10 year period.
However, orders are projected to climb even further as the requirement for this type of cargo aircraft is expected from organisations, including the Coast Guard. The report noted that according to sources, the made-in-India C295MW has export potential because it is a cost-effective project.
The Defence Ministry stated that “this is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company”. The ministry also noted that the indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite will be installed on all 56 aircraft.
The intention to buy 56 planes to replace the ageing Avro fleet went through a competitive process and was set aside for the private sector to provide alternatives to public-owned companies. According to the reports, industry sources claimed that plans are also in the works to offer the aircraft for exports in the region, as well as to the Indian military in various, specialised configurations.
One of the sources familiar with the matter said: “It is a very deep Make in India project, where at one end, aluminium blocks will literally be imported and at the other end, a flying aircraft would emerge from the final assembly line.”
At least three dozen sub-suppliers are expected to receive orders in addition to the Tata group. They have been hired to produce a variety of aircraft parts. This will also be critical for the fleet's maintenance and upkeep, as it is expected to last at least three decades. Additionally, officials from the Defence Ministry said that the project will help the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or Self-reliant India initiative by reducing import dependency and creating local jobs.
According to an official, “The programme will act as a catalyst in employment generation in the aerospace ecosystem of the country and is expected to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs.” In addition, it would also generate an additional 3,000 medium-skilled job opportunities, with over 42.5 lakh man hours of work in the aerospace and defence sector, said the official.
As per the report, this project will also entail specialised infrastructural development, including hangars, buildings, aprons and taxiways, as well as a large ancillary industry to sustain the fleet over the next several decades.
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