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Airbus Defence and Tata to supply 56 C295 aircraft to the Indian Air Force


Under the deal, 16 aircraft will be delivered in a flyaway condition by the Airbus Defence and Space within 48 months of signing the contract

The Defence Ministry on September 24 signed a deal with Airbus and Space S.A., Spain, for procurement of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft to replace the Avro-748 planes of the Indian Air Force.

This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India under technology transfer by a private company, and the deal value is estimated around ₹22,000 crore.

Of these, 16 aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition from Spain within 48 months and 40 aircraft will be manufactured in India by Tata Consortium within 10 years from the date of contract.

The deal was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security early this month and the final contract marks the culmination of a decade-long process to replace the ageing Avro aircraft in service.

Also read: Explained | Why is Avro aircraft replacement and C-295 aircraft induction critical for the IAF?

The IAF has 56 Avro transport aircraft procured in the 1960s and in urgent need of replacement. The Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued to global firms in May 2013 and the sole bid by Airbus and Tata Group with the C-295 aircraft was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in May 2015. However, the final deal was repeatedly delayed.

The C-295 MW aircraft is a transport plane of 5-10 tonne capacity and has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para dropping of troops and cargo. It is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW127 engines, part of the PW100 family. All 56 aircraft will be installed with indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

The programme is expected to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs and an additional 3,000 medium skill employment opportunities, with more than 42.5 lakh man hours of work within the aerospace and defence sector of India, the Defence Ministry had stated earlier.

The Avro replacement has become a critical project for the IAF after an ambitious project to jointly co-develop and produce a Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) of 20 tonnes with Russia to replace the An-32s, workhorse of the IAF, was scrapped after initial design discussions.

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September 19, 2021

India to take in 24 second-hand Mirage 2000 fighters

IAF’s 35-year old Mirage fleet, which performed exceptionally during the 2019 Balakot operation, is undergoing a mid-life upgrade, the people said – with the trigger for the acquisition of the second-hand aircraft being the immediate need for 300 critical spares.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire 24 second-hand Mirage 2000 fighters, made by Dassault Aviation, in an attempt to strengthen its ageing fleet of the fourth-generation fighters and also secure parts for its two existing squadrons of the aircraft, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. IAF has initialled a contract worth 27 million euros to buy the fighters, eight of which are in ready-to-fly condition, the people cited above added. That works out to a per-aircraft acquisition cost of 1.125 million euros. The people cited above said the aircraft will soon be shipped to India in containers.
IAF’s 35-year old Mirage fleet, which performed exceptionally during the 2019 Balakot operation, is undergoing a mid-life upgrade, the people said – with the trigger for the acquisition of the second-hand aircraft being the immediate need for 300 critical spares. The aircraft is becoming obsolete in France, they added, and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduaria decided to go in for the purchase.

Out of the 24 fighters, 13 are in complete condition with engine and airframe intact with eight of them (nearly half a squadron) ready to fly after servicing. The remaining 11 fighters are partially complete but with fuel tanks and ejection seats, which will be scavenged to secure parts for IAF’s two existing squadrons of the fighter.IAF purchased around 50 fourth-generation Mirage 2000 C and B fighters way back in 1985 with a maintenance contract that expired in 2005. It signed another contract in 2015-2016 with the French original equipment manufacturer.

The purchase highlights the importance of shifting spare parts and engine supply chains to India for future acquisitions as fighters abroad reach obsolescence much faster than in India. Until the Narendra Modi government took the decision of acquiring the 4.5 generation Rafale fighters (also from Dassault), the Mirage 2000 was India’s front-line fighter, a position it has held since the Kargil war. The new Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign should ensure that original equipment and spares are now manufactured in India so that there is no shortage of spares till the time the fighter is decommissioned, the people cited above said.

The other issue that flows out of this last-minute acquisition is that the IAF and the Indian Navy should plan their fighter acquisition so that there is synergy between the two forces and coherence is maintained in the supply of spare parts, experts said. It also points to the need for the defence ministry to accelerate decisions on replenishing the country’s fighter fleet, especially because China has already moved to fifth-generation fighters and armed drones.

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September 16, 2021

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September 15, 2021

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September 6, 2021

India, U.S. sign agreement to co-develop air-launched UAV

 Air Vice Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari, Indian Air Force, Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Plans, and Brig. Gen. Brian R. Bruckbauer, Director of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, signed a landmark agreement recently to co-develop air-launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The agreement is the inaugural co-development project under the U.S.- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, a bilateral defense cooperation mechanism that promotes collaborative technology exchange, strengthens cooperative research, and enables co-production/co-development of defense systems for sustainment and modernization of military forces.

“The United States and India share a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, Kelli L. Seybolt. “This co-development agreement further operationalizes India’s status as a Major Defense Partner and builds upon our existing strong defense cooperation.”

The project is valued at more than $22 million with costs shared equally, and marks the largest-ever defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation collaboration between the United States and India. The objectives are the Design, Development, Demonstration, Test and Evaluation of technologies including physical hardware such as small UAVs, avionics, payload power, propulsion, and launch systems through prototyping that meet the operational requirements of the Indian and U.S. Air Forces. The co-development project will be carried out jointly between the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“This important Project Agreement comes after many months invested by the AFSAC team, AFLCMC program offices, AFRL, Air Force International Affairs, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, as well as our Indian Air Force and DRDO counterparts working together, side-by-side, on common national security interests,” emphasized Bruckbauer. “I am proud of the dedicated teamwork and partnership this Project Agreement represents for both of our countries.”

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