India Emerges Biggest Customer Of Airbus C295 Aircraft; European Firm Hails Milestone Of 300 Orders

In a testament to its unparalleled performance and enduring popularity, the Airbus C295 medium airlifter has achieved a remarkable milestone by securing 300 orders across various transport and mission versions. 

JAS-39 Gripen ‘Dogfights’ F-35 Fighter In ‘1-On-1’ Combat Training; NATO Asks, Who Would Have Won?

This accomplishment follows closely after the Republic of Kazakhstan procured a third aircraft for the National Security Committee Aviation Service. 

European aerospace giant Airbus recently announced this milestone, affirming the C295’s dominant position as the market leader in the medium tactical transport category, commanding an impressive 80% market share.

The continued selection of the C295 by an expanding number of operators underscores its status as a global leader in its category. 

The company said that the aircraft’s versatility and capability to cater to diverse operational needs have led to its adoption by 41 operators hailing from 37 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Credits: Airbus

Notably, 19 of these operators have shown their confidence in the aircraft by placing repeat orders, signaling their satisfaction with its performance and capabilities. 

The designation “C295” reflects its origins, with “C” representing CASA, “2” indicating the number of engines, and “95” signifying the maximum payload initially planned at 9.5 tons. 

The program’s inception dates back to 1996, with the construction of the prototype commencing in early 1997. 

The aircraft took to the skies for the first time in November of the same year in Getafe, Madrid. In November 1999, the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) granted military certification to the aircraft for the first time.

The Spanish Air and Space Force emerged as the launch customer for the C295 in 1999, acquiring nine aircraft in transport configuration, with the first delivery taking place in 2000. 

The 35th Wing of the Spanish Air and Space Force operates its fleet of C295s from the Getafe Air Base, utilizing them for various missions, including the Ivory Detachment in Senegal.

So far, the C295 has amassed an impressive 610,000 flight hours among all operators, with the Spanish Air and Space Force leading the pack with over 90,000 flight hours. On the other hand, the Brazilian Air Force stands out with the highest number of flight hours, exceeding 9,000. 

India Is The Largest Customer Of The C295

The company also emphasized that India holds the distinction of being the largest purchaser of the C295 aircraft. In September 2021, India finalized the procurement of 56 Airbus C295 planes.

According to the agreement, Airbus will deliver the initial 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its Seville final assembly line by 2025, while Tata in Vadodara, India, will manage the manufacturing and assembly of the subsequent 40 aircraft.

A Final Assembly Line (FAL) is currently under construction in Vadodara to produce 40 of the 56 C295s ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Component production for these aircraft has already begun at the Main Constituent Assembly (MCA) facility in Hyderabad.

IAF C295.

In September 2023, the Indian Air Force (IAF) received the first aircraft. The second aircraft is anticipated to be delivered by May 2024, followed by one aircraft per month until August 2025. The delivery of the first domestically produced C295 under the “Make in India” initiative is slated for 2026.

The acquisition of the aircraft is crucial for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to replace its aging Avro-748 fleet, which has been in service for over six decades. India also plans to procure 15 additional C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

Factors Behind The Success Of The C295

Airbus credits the C295’s success to its outstanding performance characteristics. The aircraft boasts Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capability, allowing it to operate from short and unpaved runways, ideal for deployments in austere environments. 

Additionally, the C295 offers high fuel efficiency, delivering an extended range and reduced operating costs compared to similar-sized aircraft. Its advanced avionics suite, featuring modern navigation and communication systems, enhances operational safety and effectiveness. 

These combined attributes make the C295 a preferred choice for airlift missions globally, providing a potent combination of versatility, efficiency, and affordability.

The best-selling variant of this aircraft is the transport version, prized for its ability to accommodate 70 military personnel or 48 paratroopers, as well as VIP personnel, container loads, vehicles, or pallets. 

Several countries, including Serbia, Poland, and Mexico, utilize the transport version of the C295 for their operational needs. Spain, for example, has acquired the most advanced mission configuration of the aircraft, called C295 MPA, which stands as the variant with the highest capabilities.