₹22,000 crore deal signed with Airbus last year for manufacturing of 56 C-295s to replace IAF’s aging fleet of Avros

Gujarat may get the first private aircraft manufacturing facility to realise ₹22,000 crore worth deal the defence ministry had signed with European multinational aerospace corporation Airbus last year for acquisition of 56 C-295 fixed wings.

Under the contractual agreement signed in September of 2021, Airbus will deliver over four years the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain. The remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), the defence arm of Tatas, in India. The C-295s will replace the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) aging Averos.

Sources aware of developments said that among the places figured out for establishing the final assembly line for C-295 are Dhalora and Baroda. Dhalora is a village some over a hundred kilometers from Ahmedabad, and the state government is trying to convert it into a smart city, while Baroda is the second largest city in Gujarat that falls on the Delhi-Mumbai highway.

Interestingly, on October 9, Prime Minister Modi during a visit to Gujarat to unveil development works, had remarked that days are not far when his home state will be manufacturing planes. “Earlier, we were unable to make even cycles in Gujarat; now we are making cars and the days are not far when we will make aircraft in the state,” Modi had stated.

Defence ministry sources stated the Prime Minister’s Office is monitoring the mega defence project and the production has to start in 2025 as per the timelines clocked in the agreement. An announcement may take place later this month, which would be touted as a major achievement ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls, given that the plant would bring large volume investments and jobs to the state.

Airbus, at the time of signing of the contract, stated that the move would strengthen India’s aerospace ecosystem and offer 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years. In an exclusive interview on August 5, TASL CEO and MD exhibited confidence that, together with Airbus, they would be exporting C-295s at a globally affordable price post delivery of the entire IAF order.

All the C295s, in transport configuration, will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.