The Indian Air Force is about to close a massive purchase contract for 56 C295 aircraft with Airbus.
New Delhi’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has recently approved the acquisition of the military transport turboprop in order to replace about 57 HAL-748 produced in the 1960s and which are still in service.
The proposal made to the Indian government joins Airbus and a local consortium led by Tata Advanced Systems. According to the details of the agreement, 16 aircraft will be produced by the manufacturer in Spain while 40 C295 will be assembled in India by the consortium.
The European C925s must be delivered within 48 months of signing the contract, while the Indian planes, within 10 years.
The sale agreement for the military turboprops was drawn up in 2015, but since then it has been analyzed by government departments in India. The Air Force is expected to use the C295 for various types of tasks, including transportation and possibly may order more aircraft for use in maritime patrols and in the coast guard.
The replacement of the HAL-748 is very urgent despite the program being launched ten years ago. Developed by Hawker Siddeley as a regional transport aircraft, the 748 was produced under license by Hindustan Aeronautics in the 1960s.
Of the 89 completed aircraft, 17 were used by Indian Airlines and 72 by the Air Force, of which 57 units would remain. Very versatile, the plane was even tested as an AEW platform.