The first of the 56 C-295 medium lift tactical transporter aircraft was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force on Monday, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh exhibiting confidence that acquisition will bolster capability of the force.

The first IAF squadron to be equipped with the C-295 is “11 Squadron (The Rhinos)“, which is based at Vadodara and would replace ageing Avro-748 fleet.

The C-295 landed at Vadodara on September 20 a week after Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari took its custody and the aircraft was flown from the Airbus’ Seville facility in Spain.

“This medium lift tactical aircraft is capable of taking off and landing from unprepared landing grounds and it will replace the HS-748 Avro aircraft. The induction of C-295 will bolster medium lift tactical capability of the IAF. The Defence and Aerospace sectors are the two important pillars for making India self-reliant in coming years,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh posted on ‘X’ after its induction at a ceremony at Hindan Air force Station, Ghaziabad.

While the first 16 of the 56 contracted aircraft will be delivered to the IAF in a ‘fly-away’ condition, the remaining 40 would be manufactured in India by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd at their facility in Vadodara as part of a ₹21,935-crore deal India signed two years ago with Airbus Defence and Space.

Bharat Drone shakti

The Minister also inaugurated “Bharat Drone Shakti 2023”, a first-of-its-kind drone exhibition-cum-display at Hindan Air Base in Ghaziabad, that features over 75 start-ups from across the country, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

At the two-day long exhibition, organised jointly by Indian Air Force (IAF) and Drone Federation of India (DFI), the manufacturers showcased its multiple military and civil applications through a series of aerial and statics demonstrations, the Ministry pointed out. Through the event, the MoD stated, the IAF and DFI seek to bolster the government’s initiative to make India a major drone hub by 2030.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Road, Transport & Highways General (Dr) VK Singh (Retd), Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, senior officers of the three services, Defence Attaches and officials from friendly foreign countries as well as representatives of the Indian industry attended the event.

Rajnath Singh along with other dignitaries were also briefed on the latest in-house innovations of the IAF at Hindan Air Base that included projects such as a Hybrid Drone Detection System, Al Engine for fault diagnosis, a Fly-By-Wire Tester, Stabilised Power Supply Trolleys, QR Code-based Tool Crib management system and also modern teaching aids.