Air Transportation: Economy Size Commando Transport

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December 3, 2015: AirBus is adding new optional features to its popular C295 transport. One is a kit that enables the aircraft to refuel in the air. The other kit enables the aircraft to land and take off on smaller airfields. These two features are provided largely at the request of customers that use the C295 for special operations missions.

The C295s entered service in 2001 and are manufactured in Spain. C295 is a 23 ton twin engine turboprop aircraft that can carry six tons for up to 2,200 kilometers. Top speed is 570 kilometers an hour and max payload is nine tons or 71 troops. Users note that the C295 is easy to maintain, stands up well to daily operation over long periods and copes with hot and dusty conditions. So far over 220 C295s have been ordered by 20 countries.

One of the latest sales (early 2015) was India which is paying $33.4 million each for 56 C295 transports. These will replace the elderly (some 50 years old) HAL-748 transports. The HAL-768 is a license built version of the British Avro 748. India bought 89 HAL-748s in the 1960s but only about fifty are still flyable.  India began looking for someone to replace the HAL-768s in 2012 and asked for proposals from all major aircraft manufacturers. Only AirBus responded because India insisted that the manufacturer build most of the aircraft in India with an existing Indian company. AirBus partnered with Tata Motors to build 40 C295s in India while the first 16 wound come from the Spanish manufacturer. The Avros were built in India by state owned and run HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) as were most aircraft built in India since the 1940s. But HAL has a terrible reputation for quality and reliability so the choice of Tata (a younger and more innovative and successful firm) is appealing because it would give HAL some effective competition.

 

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