IAF Squadron The Rhinos gets First C-295 transport aircraft

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with IAF Chief VR Chaudhari at induction ceremony of C295 Aircraft at Hindan air base on Monday ( 25.09.2023)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first C-295 transport aircraft in a formal ceremony at the Hindan Air Force Station in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. India received the delivery of the aircraft at the Airbus facility in Seville, Spain.

The first IAF squadron to be equipped with C295 aircraft is Vadodara based No. 11 Squadron, also named The Rhinos. The C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity and  will replace the legacy Avro aircraft in the IAF procured in the 1960s.

The ‘Sarv Dharm Puja’ induction ceremony was attended by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari.

Formally handing over the key of aircraft

India in September 2021 had formalised the acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft to replace the legacy Avro fleet of the Indian Air Force at a cost of Rs 21,935 crore.

The first 16 C295s of the 56 aircraft on order are being  assembled at the San Pablo Sur site in Seville (Spain) with the second aircraft due to be delivered in May 2024 and after that all 14 rolled out at a rate of one per month until August 2025.

The remaining 40 C295s will be manufactured and assembled – in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) – at a Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Gujarat’s Vadodara which was founded on october 30, 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.This is the first time that a private sector company would be manufacturing a full aircraft in the India and is being considered a huge step forward for India in the global aircraft manufacturing domain.

The Request For Proposal (RFP) for supply of C-295MW  was issued to global firms in May 2013 and the sole bid by Airbus and TASL was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council after two years in May 2015. On September 24, 2021 the Defence  Ministry (MoD) signed a ₹21,935 crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the acquisition of 56 C-295MW aircraft along with associated equipment.