Global vendors have given the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) RFP worth $3.5 billion to replace the ageing Avro aircraft a miss.
With foreign aircraft-makers showing no interest in bidding, the defence ministry has been forced to extend the deadline for seeking price bids to October, the fourth extension in the last 18 months, according to the Financial Express.
Senior officials told FE that “a request for proposal (RfP) was issued under ‘buy and make’ Indian to foreign vendors in May, 2012. The RfP makes it mandatory for them to select an Indian partner from the private sector.”
In 2012, the Defense Acquisition Council cleared the proposal to acquire 56 aircraft. As per the program, 16 aircraft would be manufactured by the foreign vendors while 40 would be built within the country.
At the time, the defense ministry had sidestepped government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and said the manufacturing in India is to be done by an Indian private company with technology transfer from the international vendor.
During a DAC meeting held earlier in July, defence minister Arun Jaitley pushed through a provision that the private sector will be the sole player in making 56 transport aircraft to replace the Avros, dealing HAL right out of the competition, FE reported.
The challenge for international vendors , such as Saab, Ilyushin, Airbus Military, Alenia Aermacchi and Embraer, will be to find a suitable Indian partner from the private industry who has aerospace manufacturing capability.