The C295 which will soon be manufactured at the new facility in Vadodara, however, in (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) role this aircraft won’t have the range of the P-8l which the Indian Navy is already operating.
With 1500km range with normal payload and crew it will still allow it to support P-8I over the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal and if deployed on Andaman and Nicobar islands. This C295 could provide 80 degree coverage of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with a fleet of 12-18 aircraft.
More about C295
This is an advanced multi-mission aircraft based on the CN-235 transport aircraft — which was formed from a Spanish and Indonesian partnership — is now the basis of the C295.
Integration of a simple design and robust airframe, this aircraft features a pressurized cabin and complies with the international airworthiness regulations. The cockpit enhances the situational awareness and flight safety, while reducing the pilot workload for improving the mission effectiveness. The modular architecture concept further allows for the integration of equipment in line with the potential growth in future.
The aircraft has the capability to be installed with a fully integrated tactical system (FITS) as a permanent or palletised configuration to conduct surveillance missions. The C295 (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft version is provided with underwing hardpoints for the installation of anti-ship missiles, rockets, torpedoes and reconnaissance/jamming pods. The ability to have a Maritime Patrol Radar mounted on one of its hardpoints and also as a separate belly mounted radar.
The Pratt and Whitney power-plant enables a maximum speed of 480km/h and a long endurance of up to 11 hours, which makes the bird very suitable to augment the ISR efforts taken by P8-I which are being operated by the Indian Navy.
In its Airborne Early Warning version, the C295 carries state-of-the-art AESA radar for 360-degree coverage to provide a full picture of the airspace which is required by Indian Navy to support its Air Domination operations away from shores, which cannot be supported by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft due to various priorities.
Centre for Air Borne System (CABS), under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) , has already started testing new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that can carry out detection and tracking of air and sea surface targets. This would be below the nose behind the EOIR ((Electro-Optical/Infra-Red). Further, this could fill in the void of MR-MR (Maritime Reconnaissance) created by decommissioning of IL-38.
C-295 can be armed with MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes and two MBDA’s Marte anti-ship missiles under wings to meet its anti-submarine warfare requirements as demonstrated by Airbus.
“This aircraft is far better than the Rheinland Air Service (RAS) -72 Sea Eagle Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Pakistan Navy,” said a senior officer.