The Indian Air Force has completed the maiden flight of its first C295 tactical transport aircraft.
The milestone was announced by aircraft manufacturer Airbus, adding that the C295 undertook a three-hour flight to assess its various onboard systems.
The test was conducted in Spain late last week.
According to company official Jean-Brice Dumont, the maiden flight represents a significant accomplishment for the “Make in India” aerospace program.
“With the Indian Air Force (IAF) set to become the largest operator of the C295 in the world, this program exemplifies our commitment to improve the IAF operational capabilities,” she said.
Delivery of the first operational C295 tactical transport to New Delhi is expected by September.
Pilots from the Indian Air Force are now undergoing training in Spain to prepare for the aircraft’s official deployment.
In 2021, the government of India ordered 56 C295 airlifters from Airbus under a $2.5 billion deal.
The aircraft will replace the country’s aging AVRO fleet.
As part of the agreement, the French aviation firm will deliver the first 16 aircraft in “fly-away” condition from its assembly line in Spain.
The following 40 C295s will be assembled by Tata Advanced Systems in India to boost local manufacturing.
Apart from the aircraft purchase, India is also investing $500 million in performance-based life cycle support.
“This program will significantly contribute to developing the country’s military industrial ecosystem from the manufacturing to assembly, testing, to delivery and maintenance of the complete lifecycle of the aircraft,” Airbus stated.
The C295 military transport aircraft is designed to support logistical operations in locations not accessible to heavier airlifters.
It can carry up to 71 military personnel or 50 paratroopers.
The aircraft can also be used for casualty evacuation, disaster response, and maritime patrol.
With the current order, India becomes the 35th C295 operator in the world.