India seals multibillion-dollar military aircraft deal with Airbus

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Airbus’ Tianjin center delivered the 8,000th A320 family aircraft to Air China. (Photo by Li Yingqi from People’s Daily)
(Photo by Li Yingqi from People’s Daily)

India on Friday inked a deal estimated at around 3 billion dollars with European aerospace giant Airbus to procure 56 C295 aircraft which will replace the ageing Avro-748 planes of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Under the joint-venture agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in a “fly-away” condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain, Airbus said.

The remaining 40 planes will be manufactured in India by Indian conglomerate Tata over 10 years as part of a partnership between the two companies, it added.

This is the first project of its kind in which military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company, Tata Advanced Systems CEO Sukaran Singh said.

“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.

The statements did not specify the quantum of the deal but India’s government-run broadcasters as well as multiple news outlets estimated it around 220 billion rupees (2.98 billion dollars).

India’s Defence Ministry described it as a “major boost” to the country’s “Self-Reliant India Campaign.”

It said the induction of the C295 will be a “significant step towards the modernization of the IAF transport fleet.” The IAF has 56 Avro aircraft procured in the 1960s and in urgent need of replacement.

The Airbus C295 which have a 5-10-ton capacity, will be equipped with Indian-made electronic warfare systems, the ministry said.

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