Defence Ministry nod for transport aircraft joint venture
With complaints of delays and quality control dogging the domestic aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Defence Ministry on Monday decided to opt for a foreign vendor that could partner with Indian players to manufacture transport aircraft.
The decision on manufacturing 56 transport aircraft was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony.
“A tender for the acquisition of 56 aircraft will be issued soon. As per the tender provisions, it will be mandatory for the foreign vendors to select an Indian partner from public or private sector,” sources detailed.
The tender valuing around Rs 12,000 crore would be issued under ‘Buy and make India’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedures.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been keen on giving a chance to private players as an alternative to the HAL and the new move would help it considerably.
As per the DAC-approved proposal, 16 aircraft would be purchased in fly-away condition from the foreign vendor, the next 16 would have 30 per cent indigenous components and the last 24 would be 60 per cent indigenised. The first batch that is set to replace the IAF’s Avro transport aircraft would be delivered four years after the signing of the contract.
The decision has opened doors for private sector players such as Tata,
Mahindra and Reliance, which could even form a consortium with the foreign vendors.
In the recent times, the government has taken cognisance of the complaints from the IAF regarding delayed delivery of equipment by the HAL. There have been delays in projects, including those related to Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers, facilities for complex engine components and radar software for SU-30 MKI fighter jets, certification of Shakti engine by the Original Equipment Manufacturer for Advanced Light Helicopter, changes in Standard of Preparation for indigenous Light Combat Aircraft and delay in development of engine for Intermediate Jet Trainers.