After two unsuccessful attempts to induct new tankers during the last 12 years, the Indian Air Force (IAF) prepares to launch new hunts for new generation mid-air refueling aircraft to expand the reach of its fighter jets. Doing, two senior IAF officials said on condition of anonymity on Wednesday.
The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) — the top procurement body of the Ministry of Defense — is expected to begin the official process of purchasing the tanker with the Indian Air Force within two months, to take the proposal forward. One of the officers cited above.
Under India’s Defense Procurement Rules, the Council (chaired by the Minister of Defense) AoN is the first step towards purchasing a weapon or platform. “We are planning to find AON for six new tankers in November-December. This will clear the way for sending requests for proposals (RFPs) to foreign military contractors, ”said another officer. Refuellers can cost more than $ 2 billion.
According to the August 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, the desired service capacity of the IL-78 fleet should be 70% by Indian Air Force standards, but it was 49% during 2010-16 — barely half. The aircraft were available for the mission at any time.
Experts said that the Indian Air Force needs to strengthen its refueling capabilities so that fighter jets can remain airborne for longer periods.
“Flying aircraft is important to combat the Air Force. The Air Force has only six, and the last two attempts at procurement failed due to lack of funds, despite the aircraft being shortlisted both times. We have lost more than 10 years. Hopefully, this time the prudent lawyer will win, ”Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), Additional Director General, Center for Air Power Studies.
This will be the third tender for air-to-air refueling aircraft since 2007, with the Il-78 and Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) offered by European aerospace company EADS, which competed in previous contests. , Which failed until the end. Contract due to price complications.
Industry officials said American (Boeing KC-46A), Russian (Il-78) and European (A330 MRTT) military contractors are expected to compete for the upcoming tender. Badek Aviation Group of Israel Aerospace Industries may also participate in the conversion of its Boeing 767-200 multi-mission tanker transport – Boeing aviation by a Boeing aircraft.
In August 2017, the National Auditor found that the Il-78’s refueling pod was beset by failures and that the tanker’s atmosphere was questionable. Extensive audits of the tanker fleet also showed that they had problem building tanks on the ground, missing dedicated refueling corridors and not enough hangars for the aircraft.
Source: Hindustan Times