The Indian government reportedly will spend $2.5 billion to purchase C295 tactical transport aircraft from Airbus Defense, multiple news outlets reported.
On Tuesday, Hindustan Times has reported that Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) will jointly execute the project to equip the Indian Air Force with new medium transport aircraft under the Make-in-India initiative in the aerospace sector.
The possible deal, which covers 56 military transport aircraft, has an estimated value of $2.5 billion.
The new-generation tactical airlifter will replace Indian Air Force fleet of aging Avro-748 planes.
Under the contract, Airbus will supply the first 16 aircraft in flyaway condition while the remaining 40 will be assembled in India by TASL, the officials said.
The procurement of 56 C-295 from Airbus with participation of an Indian production agency for the manufacture of 40 aircraft (out of total 56) in India is at financial approval stage and the contract is likely to be signed in the near future, the defence ministry said in its year-end review.
“The case is first of its kind which envisages participation of private companies and would prove to be a boost for our defence industry,” the ministry said.
While the C-295s are meant to replace the Avro-748 transport planes, the new aircraft will also be suitable for demanding roles that the AN-32 currently undertakes, as previously reported by Hindustan Times.
The Avro-748 entered service in the early 1960s and has been long due for replacement, said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
“The replacement C-295 project has been in the works for the past eight years and has spawned a new term — the Avro model — in the acquisition field due the unique path adopted. Actually, there is an acquisition fatigue that has crept in, a state that needs to be broken by actually inducting the aircraft that is sorely required by the IAF. The C-295 would also be the natural replacement for AN-32s which too would be getting phased out soon,” Bahadur said.