Monday, May 27, 2024

IAF & TATA Consortium Launch Cutting-Edge Airbus C-295MW Facility, Bolstering India’s Defence Capability & Global Aerospace Reach

By Staff Correspondent

An advanced supply chain management facility for the C-295MW transport aircraft was inaugurated today at the 24 Equipment Depot, Air Force Station in Manauri, a significant milestone in India’s partnership with Airbus Defence.

This facility will serve as the Central Stock Holding Depot for C-295MW aircraft spares, bolstering operations of the Pan-Indian Air Force. The 24 Equipment Depot inauguration ceremony was presided over by Air Commodore Angshuk Pal, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), along with representatives from Airbus Defence & Space and depot functionaries.

56 C-295MW aircraft are set to be procured from Airbus, Spain, with 40 of these manufactured domestically by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) as part of the TATA-Airbus consortium. An exclusive warehousing site for housing C-295MW assemblies and parts was also unveiled today at the depot. The ceremony marked the beginning of a month-long Joint Receipt Inspection of deliverables, likely to be concluded by 23 August 2023.

This development comes after India began manufacturing the C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The country is also negotiating with Airbus to establish a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) hub for the C-295 aircraft, operated by several countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Philippines, and Thailand.

The initial cohort of six pilots has completed training in Spain, and the first batch of IAF aircraft engineers is being trained to maintain aircraft to be positioned at 10 operating bases across India.

In a strategic move to ensure fleet readiness, the IAF has entered into a five-year Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) agreement with Airbus. This contract mandates a minimum of 85% fleet availability, ensuring that the majority are operationally ready and not waiting for servicing or spare parts.

While the current order from the IAF is for 56 C-295 aircraft, each capable of transporting cargo up to nine tonnes, further expansion may be on the horizon. Airbus, alongside TATA, is discussing procuring an additional 15 aircraft with the Indian Navy (IN) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), including nine for maritime surveillance.

Whispers in the corridors indicate that the Border Security Force (BSF) and another undisclosed security agency are contemplating procuring the C-295 aircraft for technical surveillance. Furthermore, the TATA Group may also market this aircraft internationally.

“We have 56 aircraft to produce, and 40 of them in India. The first logical answer is let us do what we have been paid to do,” stated Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems, Airbus, hinting at the potential growth of the C-295 programme. “Fifty-six is a lot and not a lot at the same time,” he added, expressing confidence in “regional opportunities for the aircraft served from India”.

The inauguration of the C-295MW facility marks a critical phase in strengthening India’s defence capacity while reinforcing its position in the global defence and aerospace industry.

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