The Indian Air Force has issued tender for purchase at least six midair refuelers that could cost over $2 billion, after two failed attempts to induct new tankers.
This will be the third tender for tankers in the last 10 years, with the previous two failing to end up as contracts due to price complications. Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) and Ilyushin's Il-78 had competed in the past two tenders.
The IAF on Thursday issued a Request for Information (RFI) for procuring "six flight refueler aircraft (FRA) along with its associated equipment for the IAF to meet air to air refueling requirements", Economic Times reports citing the RFI's description.
The report says that the FRA being looked at by the IAF will be a twin-crew aircraft. "It can also be second hand aircraft, provided they have 40 years of life and adequate flying hours," explained sources.
The IAF currently has six IL-78 aircraft which were procured during 2003-2004 at a cost of about Rs 132 crore per aircraft, which are used primarily for air to air refuelling, but they are plagued by maintenance problems.
According to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, tabled in Parliament last year, due to non-availability of hangars, the air assets remained in the open, which adversely affected their serviceability and life. Servicing and maintenance activities also had to be carried out in the open tarmac area, which resulted in delays due to weather conditions. The audit also found poor availability of spares, which affected the serviceability of the aircraft.
The report also stated that the serviceability of the aerial refuelling pods (ARPs) was poor, due to the limitation in repair of pods at the air base and poor maintenance support from the Original Equipment Manufacturer. The ARPs are hoses which connect the IL-78 fuel tank with the fuel tank of the receiving aircraft.
Furthermore, the report states that the IL-78s were due for overhaul in 2018-19 and during this process it is proposed to upgrade their engines, which will enable them to take off from shorter runways. However, the report said that the upgradation will take several years, meanwhile air to air capability of the IL-78 fleet will remain constrained.
The report concluded that, "Air to Air refuelling is a crucial capability both during combat as well as peacetime operations. IL-78 aircraft are dedicated for this purpose. However, due to inadequate infrastructure and support facilities the air to air refuelling capability was hampered".
Russias advanced aerial refueling tanker Ilyushin Il-78M-90A performed its maiden flight on Thursday, local media reports. "Today, on January 25, the flight model of the Il-78M-90A perspective aerial refueling plane performed its first flight
The Indian government has cancelled the much awaited multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft deal worth $1 billion on the grounds of planes high operational cost. "We have [recently] cancelled the MRTT deal with Airbus Defence and Space because platforms are too expensive and not economically viable to operate", an MoD official who declined to be identified told
The Indian MoD has selected the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) instead of the Russian Ilyushin-78 air-to-air tanker,the IAF Air Chief Marshal, Major Fali Homi said in an interview to an Indian newspaper. The deal is now to be cleared by the cabinet committee on security before the cheque is issued to Airbus
The Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said the social media addiction among pilots has lead to sleep deprivation, which most likely caused a fighter aircraft crash in 2013. “Everybody appears to be spending long hours on social media, late nights
The Indian Air Force will soon initiate the process of acquiring over 100 jets worth over INR 1.25 lakh crore (US$ 19 billion) from the global aircraft manufacturers around DefExpo 2018, to address shortage of combat airplanes
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