Tuesday, June 18, 2024

C295 Transport Aircraft Manufacturing: A Big Boost To Development of Defence Industrial Complex

By Staff Correspondent

As PM Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the Tata-Airbus-owned facility to manufacture C295 military transport planes on October 30 2022, India will enter an illustrious league of about only a dozen nations with the capacity to manufacture military transport aircraft.

Development of Military Air Transport Complex

Tata-Airbus combine had said that C295 manufacturing is “the first Make in India aerospace programme in the private sector involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem; from manufacture to assembly, test and qualification, to delivery and maintenance of the complete lifecycle of the aircraft.”  

Under the terms of the deal, 16 C295 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between September 2023 and August 2025 in flyaway condition, while the remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured at the Vadodara facility. In another first, “indigenous content in the planes will be the highest ever in India, and 96% of the work that Airbus does in Spain will now be done at the new facility.” The defence ministry says this project “offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter the technology-intensive and highly competitive aviation industry. It will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports.

Further, 13,400 parts, 4600 sub-assemblies and all significant component assemblies will be manufactured by 25 domestic MSME suppliers spread across seven states. All these 56 aircraft will be fitted with an indigenous electronic warfare suite developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Limited.

Military Transport Aircraft Manufacturing Capability- With the launch of the C295 aircraft manufacturing facility, India will become the 12th country with the capacity to manufacture such aircraft. Currently, the US, Japan, UK, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Brazil, China, and Japan has that capacity. As per the Allied Market Research report, the military transport aircraft industry is set to reach $45 billion industry size by 2030. Tata-Airbus facility is due to complete its IAF commitment by 2031 and can start exporting its products to other nations as well.

Civil Aircraft Manufacturing Potential

Given the fact that the military transport aircraft industry is a much more robust and technologically advanced machine than a commercial airliner, C295 manufacturing will open up prospects for the development of domestic commercial aircraft manufacturing will pick up. Indian airline companies are one of the biggest buyers of commercial aircraft with an ever-expanding order book of 1100 aircraft since 2011. Demand for commercial aircraft coupled with the C295 aircraft manufacturing facility and associated supply chain will create the required ecosystem to support the development of the commercial aircraft manufacturing industry in India.

Export Potential

The Vadodara facility will be initially geared to manufacture 8 aircraft per year, but it has been designed such that it can also cater to the additional needs of Indian armed forces or exports. As per Defence Ministry, following the delivery of 56 aircraft to IAS, the combine will be allowed to sell India-built C295 aircraft to civil operators and to countries cleared by the government. It is believed that the Vadodara facility will replicate the success of Brahmos in missile exports. 

Big Boost To Make-in-India

India has embarked on a massive transformation of its defence sector through the ambitious Make in India program of the Modi government. Several projects for the domestic manufacturing of various defence platforms like missiles, field guns, tanks, aircraft carriers, drones, fighter planes, tanks, and helicopters are currently underway and are fulfilling the defence modernization needs of the Indian armed forces.

However, military transport aircraft was one of the critical missing links in the entire defence industrial complex chain. The JV between Tata and Airbus has plugged that missing piece and will significantly boost the Make in India program of the Narendra Modi government. The Indian Armed forces will no longer have to depend on the old Avro planes of the 1960 generation for their transportation needs.

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