Despite the independent committee report, submitted to the government on the Tata-Airbus consortium’s bid to replace Indian Air Force’s (IAF) ageing fleet of 56 Avro aircraft with C-295 transport carriers in a Rs 12,000-crore deal, the government is unlikely to take a decision next week.
Sources said, “MoD has been studying the Gokhale committee report, but has not reached any decision. The study has raised questions over the single-vendor situation and other related issues about the replacement plan. It will now be up to the Defence Acquisition Council meeting led by defence minister Manohar Parrikar that is scheduled to meet on May 11 to take a final decision.”
It maybe recalled Parrikar had told Parliament the government had set up an independent panel to look into various issues vis-a-vis a single-vendor scenario. Since last November, the DAC, headed by the defence minister, has been seeking additional information.
Prime minister Narendra Modi during the France visit went to the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse. Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) had submitted a joint proposal with Tata to produce the modern C-295 aircraft in the country as a replacement for the ageing Avro aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
In May 2013, the ministry had issued a global tender — called a request for proposals (RfP) to original equipment manufacturers including US defence major Boeing, Ilyushin of Russia, Antonov of Ukraine, Franco-German consortium EADS (now rechristened Airbus), Embraer of Brazil and Alenia Aeromacchi of Italy.
They were required to tie-up with an Indian private company under which 40 aircraft will be produced here, while 16 would be bought off-the-shelf. Of these, 40 aircraft would be manufactured in India by an Indian Production Agency (IPA) from the private sector. The IPA is to be chosen by the original equipment manufacturer. As per the tender, foreign OEM would remain as the main contractor and the Indian partner would only remain as a vendor.