Airbus Defence and Space has officially handed over the first of 56 C295 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on September 13, 2023. The aircraft will leave the Airbus production site in Seville, Spain, for Delhi, India.
“It was only two years ago that we signed this contract with India, the largest order in the history of the C295,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus’ Head of Military Air Systems, in a delivery ceremony held in Seville in the presence of IAF Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari.
India ordered 56 C295 aircraft in September 2021. The first 16 C-295s should be assembled and delivered by Airbus, while the remaining 46 aircraft will be assembled locally under license at a Tata Advanced Systems factory in Vadodara, western India, due to open by November 2024. Another component production facility was built in Hyderabad, southern India, and is already operational. The first Indian-made C295 is expected in September 2026.
The C295 transport aircraft will replace the fleet of 57 Hawker Siddeley HS 748 (or Avros-748) which first entered service within the IAF in the 1960s. With a cabin measuring 12.7 meters (41 feet) in length, the C295 can accommodate a variety of configurations, including the transportation of up to 71 combatants, 48 fully equipped paratroopers, 24 stretchers for medical evacuations, or the loading of five pallets. Its design allows it to operate efficiently from short and unprepared airstrips, requiring a minimal runway length of just 670 meters (2,200 feet).