Military transport aircraft was one of the critical missing links in the entire defence industrial complex chain which has been plugged with the Tata-Airbus joint venture and the development of the defence transport aircraft RAJAS-Rakshan now, to a significant extent
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
News reports of March 15, 2023, have said that the Bengaluru-based Genser Aerospace Private Limited will set up a complete aircraft manufacturing unit at the Kanpur node of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor (UPDIC). The proposed military transport aircraft is reportedly named ‘RAJAS-Rakshan’. Media has quoted an unnamed senior government official who said that manufacturing will commence at the first complete aircraft manufacturing private industry at UPDIC by 2024.
According to the government official, "UP defence industrial corridor Chief Nodal Officer, former Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria and UPDIC Chief General Manager Rakesh Mishra had held a meeting with Genser Aerospace at Aero India to consolidate the MoU signed and announced at the UP Global Investor Summit 2023." He added that the design of defence aircraft RAJAS-Rakshan was also announced by Genser CEO Arunakar Mishra during the day and that Genser, under the aegis of Aerospace Foundation of India (Aerofi), has been working for over five years on the development of the defence transport aircraft RAJAS-Rakshan.
Genser CEO Arunakar Mishra says that RAJAS-Rakshan is a two pilot plus seven seat aircraft, with 5-tonne all-up weight (AUW), having a twin turbofan engine with cruise speed of over 0.7 Mach (over 800 km/h) and a range of over 2,000 nautical miles (4,000 km) to travel across India. Mishra said that RAJAS-Rakshan will be sold within the SAARC countries and similar ranges elsewhere in the world. He said that the projected market is 1,200 aircraft (600 for domestic market and 600 for export) in 20 years.
RAJAS-Rakshan will be sold within the SAARC countries and similar ranges elsewhere in the world. The projected market is 1,200 aircraft (600 for domestic market and 600 for export) in 20 years.
Arunakar Mishra further said, “This is going to be the first private industry setting up their complete aircraft manufacturing unit in the Kanpur node of UP Defence Industrial Corridor with massive investments of 3,000 crore. Project realisation is planned under a collaborative model using many Indian and overseas partners and through an extensive supply chain across India for prototyping, testing, certification, limited series production, series production and operations support.
It may be recalled that in September 2021, India had sealed a nearly 21,000 crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 x C295 transport aircraft to replace the ageing Avro-748 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) under a project that entails manufacturing of military aircraft in India for the first time by a private company. In October 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the Tata-Airbus facility to manufacture C295 military transport aircraft in Gujarat, which would enter India into the league of about a dozen nations with the capacity to manufacture such military aircraft.
Arunakar Mishra further said, “This is going to be the first private industry setting up their complete aircraft manufacturing unit in the Kanpur node of UP Defence Industrial Corridor
Military transport aircraft was one of the critical missing links in the entire defence industrial complex chain which has been plugged with the Tata-Airbus joint venture to a significant extent. The Tata-Airbus combine had said that C295 manufacturing is the first Make-in-India aerospace programme in the private sector involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem, and that it involves manufacture to assembly, test and qualification, to delivery and maintenance of the complete life cycle of the aircraft.
Under the terms of the Tata-Airbus deal, 16 x C295 are scheduled to be delivered between September 2023 and August 2025 in flyaway condition, while the remaining 40 aircraft will be manufactured at the Vadodara facility. It was also intimated that the indigenous content in the C295s will be the highest ever in India, and 96 per cent of the work that Airbus does in Spain will now be done at the new facility in India.
The indigenous content in the C295s will be the highest ever in India, and 96 per cent of the work that Airbus does in Spain will now be done at the new facility in India
The C295 is a versatile aircraft used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft. The aircraft can airdrop paratroops and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation. The aircraft is capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.
Now the news is that the engine run and rollout of the first Airbus C295 for India has already been successfully completed. Obviously, Tata-Airbus will adhere to the delivery schedule of providing 16 aircraft between September 2023 and August 2025 in flyaway condition and manufacturing balance 40 aircraft at Vadodara in Gujarat. The C295 and RAJAS-Rakshan military transport aircrafts are excellent initiatives under ‘Make in India’. These would add to the combat potential of the military, replace transport aircraft going obsolete and avoid imports in these categories.