C-295 Transport Aircraft Manufacturing Facility

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    In News

    • Recently, the Prime Minister of India laid the foundation stone for the C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat.

    About

    • Set up by: Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL). 
    • This is the first time a private sector company would be manufacturing a full aircraft in the country. 
    • This is a huge step forward for India in the global aircraft manufacturing domain.

    C-295MW Transporter

    • About: 
      • The C295 was originally produced by a Spanish aircraft manufacturer named Construccionaes Aeronauticcas SA. 
      • This company is now part of Airbus and the aircraft’s manufacturing takes place at Airbus’s plant in Spain. 
    • Capacity: 
      • The C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity. 
    • Request For Proposal (RFP):
      • It was issued to global firms in May 2013 and the sole bid by Airbus and TASL was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in May 2015. 
    • Agreement: 
      • In September 2021, India signed a Rs 21,935 crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 C295 aircraft to replace the IAF’s ageing Avro-748 planes, which entered service in the early 1960s.
    • Delivery: 
      • Of the 56 aircraft contracted, 16 will come in fly-away condition from Spain between September 2023 and August 2025. 
      • The remaining 40 will be manufactured here to be delivered between September 2026 and 2031 at the rate of eight aircraft per year. 
    • Training and skilling: 
      • Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at the Airbus facility in Spain for the project, the MoD said. 
    • Feature: 
      • The C-295 has very good fuel efficiency.
      • It can take off and land from short as well as unprepared runways.
    • India’s Image:
      • With the procurement of these aircraft, India has become the 35th C-295 operator worldwide. 
      • With 285 aircraft ordered and 38 operators in 34 different countries, the aircraft has achieved more than 5,00,000 flight hours. 
      • The Navy and the Coast Guard have also expressed interest in the C-295 and it can be used in civilian roles as well as exported in the future. 
      • The C-295 is also a potential replacement for the AN-32 aircraft, the workhorse of the IAF with over 100 of them in service. 
      • The AN-32s will be in service upto 2032 and beyond.

    Effect on the domestic aircraft manufacturing ecosystem

    • Background: 
      • Over the last two decades, Indian companies, both public and private, have steadily expanded their footprint in the global supply chains of major defence and aerospace manufacturers supplying a range of components, systems and sub-systems.
    • Good force :
      • As U.S. and India pursue the Indo-Pacific strategy, India’s strengths coupled with U.S. and European technology prowess can be a force for good in the world
    • Manufacturing boost :
      • The domestic defence manufacturing ecosystem will get a boost with the C-295 project as it will lead to the development of a strong private industrial aerospace ecosystem not only in and around Vadodara but across the country. 
      • Bengaluru and Hyderabad already have developed such aerospace and defence domains over the years. 
    • Skilled jobs created:
      • The C-295 project is expected to create more than 15,000 skilled direct and indirect jobs across the aerospace ecosystem, with more than 125 suppliers qualified on global quality standards across India. 
    • Assembly and production functions:
      • Manufacturing of over 13,400 detail parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all the seven major component assemblies will be undertaken in India, along with tools, jigs and testers, Tata said.

    India’s Civil Aviation Sector

    • India has a much bigger footprint in civil aviation manufacturing than defence, in addition to being a major market itself. Both Airbus and Boeing do significant sourcing from India for their civil programmes.
    • According to Airbus every commercial aircraft manufactured by them today is partly designed and made in India. 
    • Since 2007, Airbus has had a wholly domestic-owned design centre in India which has more than 650 engineers who specialise in high-tech aeronautical engineering and work across both fixed- and rotary-wing Airbus aircraft programmes. 
    • Another major growing area is Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for which India can emerge as the regional hub.

    Way Ahead

    • The private defence sector is still nascent and a conducive and stable regulatory and policy environment will be an important enabler.
    • With the right momentum, a realistic roadmap and enabling policy framework, India can become a hub for aircraft manufacturing akin to the automobile clusters which turned India into a major exporter of cars to the world..
    • India is moving ahead with the mantra of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the Globe’, and continues to enhance its potential by becoming a major manufacturer of transport planes.

    Source: TH