05 Mar 2020 | By Vishnu Aravind
Way back in March of 2015, India’s Defence Ministry approved the purchase of 56 C295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF). 4 excruciatingly long years later, the price negotiations were completed in March 2019 with an increase in the purchase order quantity by 6 for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

The C295 aircraft are slated to replace the ageing fleet of around 50 odd Hawker Siddeley HS 748 currently with the IAF. The HS 748 was manufactured by Avro, a British manufacturer beginning in the 1960s.

What is the C295?

The C295 is a multi-role tactical medium transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It has a payload of 7 tonnes and range of 2000 nm ( ~3700 km). It can transport up to 71 troops or drop 50 paratroopers.

That's 3000 km centered around New Delhi.

It is powered by 2 turbo-prop PW127G engines. It is a high-wing design making it less prone to FOD intake on unpaved runways.

It has a cruise speed of 482 km/h and is operated by a 2-man crew in a glass cockpit compatible with Night Vision Goggles (NVG).

What can the C295 do?
It is a multi-role aircraft, meaning that it can be modified based on the tactical requirement. This aircraft is equipped with a ramp door for the cargo compartment much like the An-32 and C-130 already with the IAF.

The C295 can also be used for medevac and VIP commuter duties as it is equipped with suitable role equipment.

The Avro HS748 (that the C295 are supposed to replace) is a very different aircraft. It is primarily a passenger transport aircraft. It is presently employed in the IAF for short haul passenger / light cargo transport duties only.

A Game Changer
The C295, in comparison, will out-do the HS 748 in every way. In fact, its capabilities are more in tune with the An-32 aircraft operated by the IAF.

The An-32 fleet which was inducted in 1984 is also approaching its end of life period. With the C295 coming, it is likely that it will be tasked with more An-32 operations rather than the operations carried out by the HS 748 fleet.

It is all but certain that the purchase quantity will increase to more than 150 since the C295 will replace around 50 HS 748’s and over 100 An-32’s currently in service. However, this decision can be made only when the aircraft becomes operational in service and the initial ironing out is sorted


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