India Goes Big On Defense Acquisition; Orders 118 Indigenous Arjun Tanks, 56 C-295MW Military Planes From Airbus

India has placed an order for 56 C-295MW transport aircraft with the Spanish branch of Airbus Defense and Space, the country’s defense ministry said on Friday.

The ministry also ordered on Thursday 118 Arjun Mk-1A battle tanks from government military equipment manufacturer Heavy Vehicles Factory, based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

“Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for the acquisition of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force, on September 24, 2021,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that “the aircraft will give a major boost to tactical airlift capability of IAF [Indian Air Force], especially in the Northern and North-Eastern sector and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.”

Indian Army chief Gen. MM Naravane. (via Indian Army Twitter)

The ministry described the deal as a major opportunity for the country’s efforts to achieve economic self-reliance as 40 aircraft will be manufactured by India’s TATA Consortium.

“After completion of the delivery, the subsequent aircraft manufactured in India can be exported to countries which are cleared by the Government of India. The project will give a boost to the aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs [Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises] spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing parts of the aircraft,” the ministry added.

The C-295MW aircraft is a five to ten-tonne capacity plane, equipped with a rear ramp door for parachuting troops and cargo.

Earlier, the Indian cabinet had agreed to purchase 56 C-295MW transport aircraft to replace their outdated air fleet, the country’s defense ministry had stated.

“Today, Cabinet Committee on Security approved the procurement of fifty-six C-295MW transport aircraft from M/s Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain for the Indian Air Force. C-295MW aircraft is a transport aircraft of 5-10 Tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the aging Avro aircraft of IAF,” the ministry stated.

It was also reported that sixteen planes would be delivered straight from Spain, and the remaining forty would be assembled domestically by India’s TATA Consortium over a ten-year period, which will boost Indian aircraft production facilities and lower dependence on imports.