C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force will be manufactured by Tata-Airbus at Vadodara in Gujarat, the foundation stone of which will be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 30, said Defence Ministry officials.
Apart from making 40 aircraft, this facility at Vadodara would be manufacturing additional aircraft for Air Force requirements and exports, as per Defence Secretary Aramane Giridhar. IAF officials said the first Indian Air Force squadron of C-295 transport aircraft would also be based in Vadodara.
According to Defence Ministry officials, 96 per cent of the work that Airbus does in its facility in Spain would be done in the Indian facility and the electronic warfare suite for the aircraft would be done by public sector Bharat Electronics (BEL).
Noting that this would be having one of the highest indigenous content, the defence officials added that the aircraft built in India would be supplied from 2026 to 2031 and the first 16 aircraft will come between 2023 to 2025.
IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal Sandeep Singh underscored that the Indian Air Force would ultimately become the largest operator of this C-295 transport aircraft.
Defence Secretary Aramane Giridhar said there is no ban on imports. "The policy is that whatever can be built in India would be built here. There's an aggressive push to promote make-in-India items for Defence Forces.
Operational preparedness isn't compromised and operational readiness is at forefront of our minds," he added.
India has signed the deal for this project as per the defence procurement procedure 2011 under which the tender for the project was issued.
The contract was signed on September 24 in the defence ministry between India and Airbus. Airbus has signed a contract with Tata as its production partner in India.
On September 8 last year, Cabinet Committee on Security approved the procurement of fifty-six C-295MW transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain for the Indian Air Force.
C-295MW aircraft is a transport aircraft of 5-10 Tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The aircraft has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para dropping of troops and cargo. Earlier, after the deal was signed between the Defence Ministry and Airbus of Spain, the partner companies announced that the over Rs 15,000 crore deal would help in the creation of 15,000 direct and 10,000 direct jobs in the high-skill sector.
"We have looked at many locations and the process is still going on. We are yet to finalise the location. There are multiple stakeholders in the project and all aspects have to be looked into. We are hoping it would be done soon," Tata Advanced System Limited Head Sukaran Singh had said.
He had also added the project was one of the last projects on which the former Tata group chairman had worked. Singh said he was sure that from the fifth year of the project, the Tata group would have learnt significantly about aircraft manufacturing.
(With Inputs from ANI)