Airbus bags Rs 8,000 crore deal to supply six refuelling aircraft
The European Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft has emerged as the lowest bidder in the deal edging out its Russian rival Ilyushin-78 on the basis of life-time cost of operating the respective planes and has been offered the contract, defence sources said here.
As per the defence procurement procedure, the firm offering the lowest price and meeting all tender requirements is awarded the contract.
The six aircraft will add to existing fleet of equal number of Il-78s operated by the IAF to extend the flying range of its fighter aircraft, including the frontline Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft.
The Defence Ministry will now engage the European firm in commercial negotiations to finalise the contract for the six aircraft, which will be deployed in Panagarh at West Bengal.
The IAF has based its Su-30 MKIs in Tezpur and Chabua in Assam. So far, the Russian IL-78 mid-air refuelling planes based in Agra were catering to the entire air force.
An earlier tender for procuring these aircraft was scrapped in 2010 after the Finance Ministry expressed reservations on the procedure.
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