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IAF completes commercial talks for airfields modernisation

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed contract negotiations for its ambitious USD 238-million airfields modernisation programme and the project would now be put up for approval before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Parliament's Committee on Defence has been informed.

In the action taken report on the committee's recommendations, tabled in Parliament Friday, the government also informed that under the first phase of the Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI) project, 30 airfields across India would be taken up for upgrading.

However, the committee, which had made the recommendation in its report earlier this year on Defence Ministry's Demands for Grants for 2010-11, said the government should consider expeditiously completing commercial negotiations for Phase II of the project too within a fixed time.

"MAFI project aims to modernise navigational aids at all the airfields and 30 airfields are included in the Phase I and remaining will be included in Phase II of the project.

"Commercial Negotiation Committee for MAFI Phase I has been completed. The case will now be progressed for obtaining the approval of the CCS," the government said in reply to the committee's recommendations.

The committee had noted that the time taken for the Phase I of the project was three-and-half-years since the contract is awarded and same amount of time would be taken for Phase-II of the project too under which another 20-odd airfields would be modernised.

The project was mired in a controversy after one of the contenders for the contract, Italian company Selex Sistemi, had filed a case against India choosing Tata Power as the winner of the deal.

But Air Force sources said the legal tangle had been sorted out already.

The MAFI, when completed, would provide IAF airfields with latest equipment and aids including Tactical Air Navigation, Integrated Landing Systems, upgraded communication systems, airfield approach aid systems, Digital Measuring Systems, VHF Omni Range, Range Navigation aids and modern meteorological facilities.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for airfield upgradation was issued in 2007 and sent to various global players which include US defence major Raytheon bidding jointly with Tata Power, French Siemens and Thales and Italian consortium Finmeccanica.

The first airfield to be upgraded under Phase I would be Hindan in Ghaziabad near here, which will be the home base for the C-130J military transport aircraft that will reach there from the US in February next year.

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IAF  airfield  
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