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Defence acquisition proposals worth Rs 4,444 cr cleared

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved proposals worth Rs 4,444 crore, including the purchase of four helicopters for survey vessels at Rs 2,324 crore, but deferrred a decision on a joint bid of Tata Sons Ltd and Airbus for replacing the Indian Air Force's Avro transport fleet.

Besides giving its go-ahead to acquire four choppers, the DAC, under Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, also cleared the upgradation of the mobile integrated electronic warfare system, Samyukta, at a cost of Rs 1,682 crore, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

The DAC on Wednesday also cleared a proposal relating to purchase of P-7 Heavy Drop Platform, which is used for military logistics, for Rs 402 crore, the official said.

Another proposal of Rs 36 crore for acquiring propeller engine for offshore patrol vessel of the Coast Guard was also given a go-ahead, the spokesman said.

The DAC, however, could not arrive at a decision on a joint bid by Tata Sons Ltd and Europe's Airbus to replace the IAF's Avro transport fleet, according to sources.

European consortium Airbus Defence and Space has made a joint bid with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) for supplying 56 medium-transport aircraft to the IAF valued at Rs 20,000 crore (US$ 3 billion).

The euro 14 billion (US$ 17.8 billion) Airbus Defence has tied up with Tata Sons' subsidiary (TASL) as its Indian production partner for the order.

The bid is for 56 twin-turboprop tactical military aircraft, including 16 in fly-away condition from the Airbus Defence final assembly line and the remaining 40 to be built and assembled by TASL in Hyderabad.

The aircraft is in the six-eight tonne class, with a cruise speed of 800 kms per hour and a range of 2,500-2,800 kms.

The IAF had floated the tender after the DAC had on July 19 cleared the proposal for manufacturing the 56 transport aircraft in the private sector, excluding state-run defence firm Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which built the Avro planes.

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