15 Sep C-295 Aircraft
This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “C-295 Aircraft”. This topic has relevance in the “Security” section of the UPSC CSE exam.
What is C-295 Aircraft?
Why in the news?
India has received its first C295 transport aircraft from Airbus Spain, following a 2021 agreement to acquire 56 such aircraft from the aviation giant.
C295 Aircraft Overview
- The C295, as described by Airbus, is a versatile tactical transport aircraft capable of fulfilling a wide range of missions, including:
- Carrying troops and cargo
- Maritime patrol
- Airborne warning
- Surveillance and reconnaissance
- Armed close air support
- Medical evacuation
- VIP transport
- Airborne firefighting
- This aircraft can transport up to nine tonnes of payload or accommodate a maximum of 71 personnel, achieving a maximum cruise speed of 260 knots.
- Notably, it is equipped for air-to-air refuelling and is compatible with fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
- Powered by two Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines, the C295 can cruise at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet and can swiftly take off from and land on unpaved, soft, sandy, or grassy airstrips.
- These aircraft have accumulated an impressive 500,000 flight hours, attesting to their reliability and effectiveness in various operational contexts.
India’s Aircraft Purchase
- In September 2021, India agreed to buy 56 Airbus C295 aircraft for Rs 21,935 crore.
- The first 16 C295s will come from Spain, with the second arriving in May 2024, followed by 14 more by August 2025, all in flying condition.
- The remaining 40 will be made in India, and assembled in Gujarat with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
- Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots and maintenance crews are receiving training.
- Indian deliveries of these locally-made aircraft will begin in 2026.
Significance of the Acquisition
- Replacement of the ageing Avro fleet, dating back to the 1960s, boosts IAF’s transport capabilities.
- It’s India’s first private sector ‘Make in India’ Aerospace program, challenging the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- Expected to create 15,000 high-skilled jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs in the aerospace sector over a decade.
- While major components of C295 aircraft such as engines and avionics are sourced from the United States, Airbus will transfer technology for most other components.
- Indigenous radar warning and missile approach warning systems will be developed by Bharat Electronics Limited, and the countermeasure dispensing system will be provided by Bharat Dynamics Limited.
- The airframe consists of over 14,000 parts, with Tata gradually increasing indigenous production.
- It is anticipated that the 32nd aircraft, scheduled for delivery in 2029, will be almost entirely Indian-made.
Manufacturing Progress of C295 aircraft
- The manufacturing process involves the Hyderabad factory, which handles major components such as the fuselage and tail, starting production in July.
- After assembling these major sections, they will be transported to the Vadodara facility in the following year, where they will be fitted with engines, avionics, and other critical components sourced by Airbus from global firms.
- Subsequently, they will undergo testing before being delivered to the IAF. The Vadodara facility can produce 12 aircraft per year.
- Airbus’s involvement extends beyond aircraft manufacturing. The company will provide spare support for 10 years and a performance-based logistics contract for five years, ensuring that 85 per cent of the aircraft fleet remains available to the IAF at any given time.
- Additionally, a training facility in Agra is set to become operational in late 2023.
Q1. With reference to Airbus C295, consider the following statements:
- The Airbus C295 aircraft is primarily designed for civilian use and is unsuitable for military missions.
- The C295 can transport up to nine tonnes of payload or accommodate a maximum of 71 people while cruising at 260 knots.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
Q2. Consider the following:
- Airbus C295 aircraft is equipped for air-to-air refuelling and is compatible with both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
- All the C295 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled in India in collaboration with Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
- This aircraft represents India’s first private sector ‘Make in India’ Aerospace program, challenging the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
How many of the abovementioned statements are correct?
(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
Q3. Examine the role of indigenous aerospace manufacturing in bolstering India’s national security. Discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with India’s ‘Make in India’ Aerospace programs.