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'Procurement of refueller aircraft from Airbus on track'

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Plan to acquire mid-air refueller aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Airbus is still on track even as CBI is investigating alleged irregularities in an Rs 8,000 crore deal with the European major for supplying 43 planes to erstwhile Indian Airlines, Rajya Sabha was informed Tuesday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed the Upper House in a written reply that the "procurement case of Flight Refueller Aircraft is at contract negotiation committee stage."

Asked whether "the Rs 9,000 crore project to acquire six Airbus 300 mid-air refuelling aircraft has received another jolt", the Defence Minister said: "No sir".

He said since the CBI had registered a case against European major Airbus Industries in a matter pertaining to Ministry of Civil Aviation, the agency has been requested to provide "current status in the case."

Aerial tankers enhance the capability of aircraft, including transporters and fighters.

The IAF already has some Russian IL-78MK aerial tankers but plans to acquire more to cater to its increasing fleet of aircraft.

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