Daily Editorial Analysis for 2nd November 2022

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GS PAPER 3: Defence & Aviation

Important for

Prelims Exam: Aircraft and their features

Mains Exam: How C-295 manufacturing indigenously will play an important role to boost economic growth of a country?


Foundation stone laid for the C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara to be set up by Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).

Key Points

  • India has a much bigger footprint in civil aviation manufacturing than defence, in addition to being a market itself.
  • Indian companies, both public and private, have steadily expanded their footprint in the global supply chains of major defence and aerospace manufacturers supplying a range of components, systems and sub-systems.
  • C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara to be set up by Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
  • This is the first time a private sector company would be manufacturing a full aircraft in the country.

What is the C-295MW transporter?

  • The C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity which will replace the legacy Avro aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF) procured in the 1960s.
  • The C-295 has very good fuel efficiency and can take off and land from short as well as unprepared runways.
  • India has become the 35th C-295 operator worldwide.
  • The C-295 is also a potential replacement for the AN-32 aircraft, the workhorse of the IAF with over 100 of them in service.
  • It can operate from short airstrips just 2,200 feet long and can fly low-level operations for tactical missions flying at a low speed of 110 knots, says Airbus.
  • The aircraft can additionally be used for casualty or medical evacuation, performing special missions, disaster response and maritime patrol duties.

About AN-32:

  • An-32 is a twin engine, tactical light transport aircraft designed and manufactured by Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The An-32 is derived from the An-26 transport aircraft.
  • A total of 240 An-32s are currently operational worldwide.
  • An-32 has ten variants
  • Designed to suit both military and civil operations, the An-32 can take-off and land on rough airfields and dirt runways.
  • The aircraft is designed to manoeuvre day and night in tropical and mountainous regions, even in hot climatic conditions (up to 55°C).
  • An-32 features advanced cargo handling devices and a cargo door fitted with a ramp to ease the loading or unloading of freight.
  • It is also incorporated with an upper cargo handling device to load and unload 3,000kg of payload.
  • An-32 can fly at a maximum speed of 530km/h and its cruise speed is 470km/h.


  • The Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued to global firms in May 2013 and the sole bid by Airbus and TASL was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in May 2015.
  • On September 24, 2021 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a ₹21,935 crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the acquisition of 56 C-295MW aircraft along with associated equipment.
  • Tata Group will now be able to take aluminum ingots at one end of the value stream and turn it into an Airbus C-295 aircraft for the IAF.
  • Of the 56 aircraft contracted, 16 will come in fly-away condition from Spain between September 2023 and August 2025.
  • The remaining 40 will be manufactured here to be delivered between September 2026 and 2031 at the rate of eight aircraft per year.

How will this affect the domestic aircraft manufacturing ecosystem?

  • Boeing’s sourcing from India stands at $1 billion annually, of which over 60% is in manufacturing, through a growing network of 300+ supplier partners of which over 25% are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
  • Tata in a joint venture (JV) with Boeing, manufactures aero-structures for its AH-64 Apache helicopter, including fuselages, secondary structures, vertical spar boxes fuselages and vertical fin structures for the 737 family of aircraft.
  • Lockheed Martin has joint ventures with TASL in Hyderabad which has manufactured more than 180 empennages for the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft and delivered 157 S-92 helicopter cabins.
  • One of the JV’s also began manufacturing complex fighter wings with over 70% of detail parts produced indigenously.
  • The domestic defence manufacturing ecosystem will get a boost with the C-295 project as it will lead to the development of a strong private industrial aerospace ecosystem not only in and around Vadorara but across the country.
  • The C-295 project is expected to create more than 15,000 skilled direct and indirect jobs across the aerospace ecosystem, with more than 125 suppliers qualified on global quality standards across India.


  • This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.
  • Boosts Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: It offers a unique opportunity for the Indian Private Sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation Industry.
  • The project will give a boost to the aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft.
  • The project will augment domestic aviation manufacturing resulting in reduced import dependence and expected increase in exports.


It is estimated that in the coming 10-15 years, India will need about 2000 more passenger and cargo aircraft and another major growing area is Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for which India can emerge as the regional hub.However, the private defence sector is still nascent and a conducive and stable regulatory and policy environment will be an important enabler.With the right momentum, a realistic roadmap and enabling policy framework, a similar story can be scripted to make the country a hub for aircraft manufacturing.

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