Airbus Defence and Space has announced it is teaming up with Tata Advanced Systems to bid to replace the Indian air force’s ageing fleet of small tactical transport aircraft with the Airbus C295 twin-turboprop medium airlifter. The main competitor is for the bid is Alenia Aermacchi with its C27J Spartan.

If the C295 were to be chosen for the contract, Tata Advanced Systems would be the Indian production agency for the project, which entails replacing a fleet of 56 severely ageing British Aerospace Avro 748s. Airbus says it would supply the first 16 aircraft "in flyaway condition from its own final assembly line", and the remaining 40 would be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced in India. Airbus explains: "This will include undertaking structural assembly, final aircraft assembly, systems integration and testing, and management of the indigenous supply chain."

Domingo Ureña Raso, Airbus Defence and Space executive vice-president for military aircraft, says: “We firmly believe that in the C295 we have clearly the best aircraft to replace the IAF Avro fleet, and in Tata Advanced Systems we have secured the cream of the Indian private aerospace sector as our partner for this project."

Tata Advanced Systems chairman S. Ramadorai says: “We are extremely pleased to announce our partnership with Airbus Defence and Space for the Avro replacement programme for the Indian air force. It is a landmark for the development of aircraft manufacturing capability in India, now that Tata Advanced Systems is poised to take this step toward building entire aircraft in India. The selection of Tata Advanced Systems by Airbus demonstrates the confidence that has been built in our ability to undertake this complex programme.”