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IAF negotiates for 60 new Airbus C-295
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to begin contract negotiations for acquiring 56 Airbus C-295 transport aircraft as replacements for its ageing Avro HS-748 aircraft.
According to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, due attention is being paid to all assets of IAF, fighters and transporters included, and that “contract negotiations for 56 C-295 aircraft to replace the ageing Avro fleet are likely to commence shortly”.
Separately, it is learnt that the Border Security Force (BSF) is also looking at four C-295s for movement of its troopers within the country. That takes the projected number to 60, but as the aircraft will be made in India by the Tata Group, their number should go up eventually, keeping in mind the regional connectivity plans of the Civil Aviation Ministry, particularly in India’s northern Himalayan cities.
Airbus officials have also said they are looking at a sizeable share of the Indian civil aviation market, pointing out that the C-295 is already operational in 19 countries. The air chief’s statement is significant as it clearly indicates that the process of acquiring the C-295s is now on a firm track.
The aircraft is to be made in India by the Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL) in partnership with Airbus, and as per their announcement in 2014, once a contract is awarded, Airbus Defence and Space will supply the first 16 aircraft in “fly-away” condition from its own final assembly line in Spain and the subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by TASL.