The Indian Air Force (IAF) has several proposals to be put up before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) when it meets in June after the Lok Sabha elections. Among them is the long-delayed deal for C-295 transport aircraft which are meant to replace the ageing Avro fleet.
“Negotiations for the C-295 deal have been completed. However, the deal needs clearance from the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) as there is a change from earlier parameters,” a senior defence official said.
However, there is no DAC meeting scheduled due to the ongoing elections. “The next DAC meeting will be held in June. So we will push the deal at that time,” the official added.
The other major IAF deals pending approval are the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 114 fighter jets and the fresh proposal for six mid-air refuellers cancelled earlier.
The IAF has 56 Avro transport aircraft which are in urgent need of replacement. Under the present deal, 16 will be built by a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and the remaining 40 to be built in the country by an Indian manufacturer under transfer of technology.
The sole bid by Airbus and Tata with the C-295 aircraft was approved by the DAC in May 2015, but the contractual negotiations have been repeatedly delayed. The Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued to global firms in May 2013.
This deal has become even more critical as a separate project to jointly co-develop and produce a Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) of 20 tonnes with Russia to replace the An-32s in service was scrapped after initial design discussions.
The An-32s which are the workhorse of the IAF are currently being upgraded under a $400 mn deal finalised with Antonov state corporation of Ukraine in 2009.
Source : Defence News India