India and Airbus Defence and Space inked a contract worth Rs 20,000 crore on Friday to buy 56 C-295 military transport planes. The Avro-748 planes used by the IAF will be replaced by the new planes. Between the next two and four years, the first 16 of these will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain.

The remaining 40 will be produced in India by Tata Advanced Systems in collaboration with Airbus. These deliveries will start in the fourth or fifth year and will last until the ninth year.

It is to be noted that this is India's first private-sector aerospace program. The arrangement, which has been in the works for a decade, was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier this month.

Aside from the transaction, the Defense Ministry also signed an offset contract with Airbus on Friday. As part of this, the corporation will fulfill its offset commitments by purchasing qualified products and services directly from Indian offset partners.

Airbus C-295
Airbus C-295Twitter

Reports indicate it is worth more than Rs 20,000 crore. From manufacture, assembly, and testing to distribution and lifecycle maintenance, the program will establish a complete industrial ecosystem.

All of the planes will be fitted with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite and delivered in transport mode. This is a "significant step toward modernizing the IAF transport fleet," according to the ministry.

Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria
Indian Air Force chief RKS BhadauriaFile photo

Airbus C-295: Features and Capabilities

The C-295 has a demonstrated capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips and can transport up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers tactically. It can also be used for logistical missions in areas that are inaccessible to larger aircraft. It's capable of dropping paratroopers and loads, as well as casualty and medical evacuation. It is capable of special missions, disaster response, and marine patrol operations.