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Avro replacement: Committee submits report, final decision soon

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The Avro aircraft of IAF.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Committee set up by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to look into the lone bid of Airbus-TATA consortium to replace IAF's ageing fleet of 56 Avro aircraft has submitted its report and a final decision is likely soon.

"The Committee has submitted its report. We will study it and then a decision will be taken," defence sources said refusing to elaborate on the findings by the Committee.

The nearly US$ 2.5 billion deal is likely to be discussed in the upcoming meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council.

While the DAC is likely to be held on March 28, sources said it could also be held in April given the tight schedule of the Minister who is slated to visit Japan on March 30-31.

A final decision was anticipated in November last year but Parrikar had sought more information about the necessity of the aircraft and the bidding process.

Accordingly, a special committee is looking into the details and procedures of the bid since only one consortium responded to the Request for Proposal (RFP).

"There is no problem. All issues are being looked into since we have a single vendor situation," sources said.

Under the current defence procurement policy, single-vendor situation is not entertained unless cleared by the DAC.

One of the options, besides selecting the consortium, is to go in for re-tendering in which the Indian companies become the main player rather than the foreign ones.

Another option is putting the project on hold and go ahead with the joint development and production of 'Multi-role Transport Aircraft' with Russia, defence analysts said.

In May 2013, the Ministry had issued RFP to original equipment manufacturers including US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin, European multinational Airbus Defence and Space, and Antonov of Ukraine among others.

They were required to tie-up with an Indian private company under which 40 aircraft will be produced in India while 16 will be bought off-the-shelf.

However, only a single bidder - Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) consortium - had bid for the proposal in October last year.

They plan to replace Avro with C-295 transport carriers.

The Indian Air Force is keen to replace the fleet as it feels that the vintage Avro does not serve the purpose in the modern era.

Tags:

IAF  Avro  Aircraft  MTA  Airbus  TATA  
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