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India’s first C295 tactical transport concludes its maiden flight

Photo: Airbus

India’s maiden C295 aircraft completed its first flight, paving the way for delivery in the latter half of 2023.

The first of the medium tactical transport aircraft built for India took to the skies on May 5th at 11:45 local time from Seville, Spain, before touching down at 14:45, completing a maiden flight lasting three hours.

In September 2021, India procured 56 C295 aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) outdated AVRO fleet, with the first batch of 16 planes being constructed in Seville, Spain, and shipped to the customer in “fly-away” condition, while the remaining 40 will be produced and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India, as part of a joint industrial endeavor between the two companies.

As per sources, the agreement for the 56 airframes is valued at approximately $2.5 billion, while an additional contract for performance-based life cycle support, signed with TASL, is estimated to be worth $500 million.

The implementation of this program is aimed to bolster India’s military-industrial ecosystem, encompassing various stages ranging from manufacturing and assembly to testing, delivery, and maintenance throughout the entire lifecycle of the aircraft.

Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space said “This first flight represents a significant accomplishment for the first Make in India aerospace program. With the Indian Air Force set to become the largest operator of the C295 in the world, this program exemplifies our commitment to improve the Indian Air Force (IAF) operational capabilities.”

The C295 aircraft serves as a tactical transport, capable of accommodating up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and facilitating logistic operations to remote areas that are inaccessible to heavier aircraft.

Its capabilities include airdropping paratroopers and cargo, as well as facilitating casualty or medical evacuation (medevac) operations, demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis with the use of basic litters or advanced mobile intensive care units (ICUs) equipped with life support systems.

According to Airbus Inc., a total of 281 orders have been placed by 39 operators for the C295 program. Some of the countries that operate or have ordered the C295 include Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mali, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Czechia, Angola, Serbia among others.