NEW DELHI: The defence ministry cleared an over Rs 12,000-crore project to acquire 56 transport aircraft for the IAF to replace its ageing fleet of Avro planes. Interestingly, the project is likely to see a private sector company – instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) — tie up with a foreign vendor to supply the aircraft. The defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Mr A K Antony, gave the green signal to the project that will see the first 16 aircraft being procured off-the-shelf in “a flyaway condition” from the selected foreign vendor. While the next 16 planes will have to have at least 30% indigenous components, the figure will go up to 60% for the last 24. “The global tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be issued soon. Foreign vendors will have to select an Indian partner from the private or public sector to bid for the project. We hope the deliveries will begin four years after the contract is inked,” said an official. The military aviation sector has till now strictly been the preserve of HAL. This is the first time the defence ministry is looking beyond the defence PSU, whose order book is overflowing with projects ranging from production of Sukhoi-30MKIs and upgrades of MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s as well as proposed ones like the around $20 billion one for the medium multi-role combat aircraft. “This new project will help boost the manufacture of military transport aircraft in the country,” he said.
Source: Times of India