Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Sep 23, 2006
ePaper
Google



National

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |

National Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Induction of new combat aircraft unlikely now

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: Despite the dwindling strength of Indian Air Force's (IAF) combat fleet, plans to induct 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) to replace the retiring MiG fighter series and other aircraft are unlikely to materialise in the near future, according to official sources.

The combat strength of IAF fighters is expected to dip to 29 squadrons by the end of the next fiscal. With neither the indigenous fighter Tejas nor the MRCA unlikely to be immediately inducted, the IAF is banking on an accelerated production of Sukhoi-30 MKI and the Jaguar to partially make up the numbers.

Sources said this depletion has necessitated the IAF designating the soon-to-be-inducted Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft in the combat category. It has also decided to increase the number of MiG-21s, after providing them with an upgrade to increase their service life.

Recently, Chief of Air Staff S. P. Tyagi had said the IAF required the 126 MRCA "now." However, Ministry sources said even if the Government asked companies to send in their proposals — through a process known as request for proposals (RFP) — today, a final decision would not be taken before at least two to three years. This optimistic timeframe would hold unless there are no complications such as the differing opinions among foreign aircraft manufacturers over the off-set clause.

Under the off-set policy, which will be put to its first test for the MRCA tender, manufacturers must ensure that 30 per cent of the value of contract originates from India in some form. American aircraft makers feel the definition of the off-set clause in the new Defence Procurement procedure is too rigid.

Cannot be circumvented

The off-set policy apart, the present policy lays down procedures that cannot be circumvented. An effort has been made to compress the time frame by asking companies to submit the technical and commercial bids together. But the time gained by this move would be neutralised by a technical oversight committee that would vet the technical parameters. As this would be one the largest orders for combat aircraft in the world and is sure to be contested fiercely, such a committee is necessary.

All this would mean that IAF would have less number of combat aircraft than it would ideally like to have in its inventory.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



National

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Copyright 2006, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu