Paris/New Delhi, Sep 24 (EFE).- India on Friday formalized the purchase of 56 C-295 military aircraft from Airbus, of which 16 will be manufactured at the European group’s plant in Seville and the remaining 40 in the Asian country in partnership with the local Tata group.
The 16 units from Seville assembly lines will be delivered within 48 months, while the remaining 40 will be produced in India over the next 10 years under an industrial partnership with Tata that will involve technology transfer, according to a statement by Airbus.
Indian Ministry of Defense, in a separate statement, welcomed the signing of the agreement – estimated at $2.5 billion in the absence of an official figure – that will entail the modernization of the Air Force transport fleet.
“This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.
At a press conference in New Delhi following the signing of the agreement, Airbus and Tata remarked that the formalization of the contract was a historic step for India.
“(We) truly believe that this has the potential to change the face of defense manufacturer in this country”, said Tata Advanced Systems CEO Sukaran Singh, who expects Tata to start manufacturing the 40 aircraft in “a few months,” although the first units manufactured will only start getting delivered from the fifth year.
At the press conference, Singh was accompanied by Executive Vice President Military Aircraft for Airbus, Jean-Brice Dumont; and Airbus India and South Asia head Remi Maillard.
Dumont underlined that this agreement marked the culmination of 11 years of negotiations.
“In 11 years, you said, someone could ask what is new. (…) This morning we signed a contract, which means that the rest of the industrial journey starts (…) It is really the start of this new chapter, which is the first in India… the first ‘Make in India’ project in the military space,” Dumont said.
These 56 units of C-295, in transport configuration and equipped with an Indian electronic warfare system, will make India the main operator of this aircraft and will come to replace the Avro fleet of the Air Force.
The C-295 aircraft has the ability to land on short and poorly conditioned runways and can carry up to 71 soldiers or 50 paratroopers.
It is designed to transport loads and paratroopers and also carry out medical evacuations. EFE