Friday, June 29, 2007

NEWSFLASH! DAC Clears 126 MRCA Procurement

News just in by this MoD press release (!!). Finally!:

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has cleared the process for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force. During its meeting here today, the DAC debated various issues related to the initial purchase, transfer of technology, licensed production and life time maintenance support for the 126 MMRCA and gave the final go-ahead for the project.

In pursuant to the recent assurance given by the Defence Minister for an early issue of the much awaited Request for Proposal (RFP) for the 126 fighter jets, the Ministry of Defence and Indian Air Force officers have been working overtime to scrutinize all aspects of the RFP. In view of the size and operational importance of the likely purchase, the criteria for selecting the final MMRCA contender from amongst some of the best combat aircraft offered by American, Russian and European companies, has been fine tuned. The RFP would contain a selection model that would involve an exhaustive evaluation process as detailed in the Defence Procurement Procedures — 2006.

The proposals from the likely contenders would first be technically evaluated by a professional team to check for compliance with IAF's operational requirements and other RFP conditions. Extensive field trials would be carried out to evaluate the performance. Finally, the c ommercial proposal of the vendors, short-listed after technical and field evaluations, would be examined and compared. The aircraft are likely to be in service for over 40 years. The vendors are required to provide a life time support and performance based warranty for the aircraft. MoD officials have confirmed that great care has been taken to ensure that only determinable factors, which do not lend themselves to any subjectivity, are included in the commercial selection model. The selection would be transparent and fair.

The DAC has approved that a majority of the MMRCA would be produced in India under transfer of technology. The vendor finally selected would also b e required to undertake offset obligations in India. It is expected that the ToT and offset contracts would provide a great technological and economic boost to the indigenous defence industries, which would include DPSUs, RURs and other eligible private sector industries. Foreign vendors would be provided great flexibility in effecting tie-up with Indian partners, for this purpose.

There are three guiding principles for this procurement scheme. First, the operational requirements of IAF should be fully met. Second, the selection process should be competitive, fair and transparent, so that best value for money is realized. Lastly, Indian defence industries should get an opportunity to grow to global scales. With the decks finally cleared, the RFP is planned to be issued in the near future.

15 comments :

Anonymous said...

FINALLY !

THERE IS GOD !

Abhiman said...

Mr. Aroor, though very unlikely, it remains to be seen if HAL has been sent an RFP for Tejas or not. If yes, then I may agree with Anonymous (if I may allow myself some humour in this hour).

Thank you.

sniperz11 said...

Hold on to your horses...

the RFP was ready a month ago (or more). Now, they have cleared the RFP for relese. Releasing it will take a couple of months more. It may be delayed further even there. Our bureaucracy does always find innovative ways to delay stuff.

Abhiman said...

The newspaper "The Hindu", which apparently favours foreign MRCAs, has also acknowledged that one of the reasons for calling of this tender is the delay in the development of the Tejas.

The following is an excerpt from one of its articles today :-

"India plans to buy the fighters to arrest the depletion in force levels due to retirement of the older generation of planes, ..... and the delay in the development of the indigenous fighter Tejas."

Since the Tejas is on schedule now, it can atleast be sent an RFP if the RFP proposal cannot be cancelled altogether.

The Hindu further describes the possible win by SAAB and EU consortium as "a dream come true". This when the Eurofighter project is yet to complete and when there is no confirmation of the RFP's definite future release to the EU consortium. Bias of the newspaper apart, most news reports today do mention that there are 6 likely contenders. It may mean that all the 6 often mentioned contenders may not be sent the RFP at all. Thus, EU consortium may be unlikely to recieve the RFP at all.

At least one magazine, The Week had in an article more than a year ago stated that the Tejas would have been a contender had it been on schedule. By this reason also, the Tejas may be sent an RFP.

Thanks.

alka said...

Hi Shiv
How can you stop yourself about this "mother of all deals" since its yours fav. topic and you did a superb story on jet deal in Headlines today. we would like to know yr veiws on this. come on...do a favour to the def correspondent community.
Mukesh Kaushik
UNI-Varta

alka said...

Hi Shiv
How can you stop yourself about this "mother of all deals" since its yours fav. topic and you did a superb story on jet deal in Headlines today. we would like to know yr veiws on this. come on...do a favour to the def correspondent community.
Mukesh Kaushik
UNI-Varta

Abhiman said...

Mr. Aroor, a relevant and "thought-provoking" statement by a member named IDev from Bharat-rakshak forum is reproduced below :-

"how much sense does it make for India to ask for TOT and begin induction into its force of what will be clearly inferior technology i.e. F-16, F-18 when the rest of the world including Singapore and Israel will begin inducting the JSF at about the same time that India will begin inducting the MRCA. This whole MRCA process seems to be about institutionalizing second rate aircraft into the IAF.What is the point of this looooong drawn out MRCA process if the end result is induction of second grade technology into the IAF. Or....is the only consideration the induction of first grade money into first rate Swiss banks for certain politicos/bureaucrats the only rationale for this whole process? "

I agree with this view because the Flight International report referenced by him mentions that Singapore, Israel and Japan shall be offered the JSF next year. Not that these nations pose a military threat to India, but that a large country like India whose Air-Force has stated a "force-projection" strategy, can easily be outmatched by Singapore in technology if not numbers, starting next year itself. This, when even the first metal of the destined---but already oldening---MRCA would still not be cut for another 5 years from now.

The former IAF chief Mr. Tyagi had stated hat all the MRCAs would have finished induction in 20 years time from their selection. So by 2032, when Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Australia would be flying multiple squadrons of F-35 and possibly F-22, India would still be inducting the last of the F-16s, F-18s or MiG-35.
USAF would have an operation squadron of UCAVs by then.

I think that the "jury is still out" on whether this deal is still necessary or not.

Thank you.

References :
Flight International, "USA to approve export variant of F-35", 28-06-2007

http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?p=368037#368037

Anonymous said...

Why would the RFP be delayed for the development of tejas as tejas and HAL are not even in the reckoning.....as they're contenders for the deal to be considered for the delay.....its always those six foreign players which are being talked about.

Abhiman said...

Anonymous, I'm afraid I don't understand your reasoning. My view is that HAL's Tejas should be in the reckoning. Why-do-you-discuss-Tejas-when-IAF-is-not-considering is not an answer to my view.

If you consider the "talking about" in media reports, I may repeat that all media articles yesterday mentioned that one of the reasons for the proposal of the MRCA deal was the delay in the Tejas (Hindu's repeat article today omitted this point, unlike its previous one yesterday). Atleast a couple of major cover stories in the media did mention the possibility of Tejas' candidature had it not been delayed.

Now that the "tables have turned", viz. the Tejas has accelerated in development and will be inducted far earlier than the MRCA, it would atleast be expected that the Indian Gripen be sent an RFP atleast, if the proposal is not rolled back. Infact, applying the same reasoning in reverse, the Tejas should be fast-tracked and be the MRCA because "there has been a delay in selection process of the MRCA".

Thanks.

Teews said...

Abhiman,

if your read this article and if it is correct

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2872990&C=airwar

then according to this statement F-16 and Grippen will not make the cut but neither will Tejas.

"The jet should be powered by twin turbofans that provide thrust of between 25,000 and 30,000 pounds, yielding a top speed of Mach 2 and a range of more than 2,500 kilometers, an Indian Air Force official said."

You can argue that this article is written by Vivek Raghuvanshi and as such does not warrent credibility, but if IAF requirements state that then LCA won't make it.

Only way is to wait for an official announcement and RFP.

Abhiman said...

teews, the statement of the IAF official may be his personal view, otherwise F-16, Gripen (and possibly Tejas) would not have been sent an RFP. These single-engined planes were the original contenders, of course after the Mirage-2000 (again single) became unavailable.

IAF already operates the Su-30 MKI and MiG-29, and thus another twin- twin-engined fighter would be very cost-prohibitive. Since we "ritually" compare ourselves with China in most respects like economy, it may be mentioned that the PLAAF also operates only one twin-engined fighter i.e. Su-30 MKK (the JH-7A bomber is a failure after only 20 units were ever built). No further units of the Su-30 MKK have been inducted after 2004.

The current priority of the PLAFF is the J-10, and to an extent the JF-17---both of which are single-engined. This when China has thrice India's land-area, and has military thrust towards Taiwan, Japan, US and India.

In the same way, it is highly unlikely that the IAF shall choose yet another twin-engined plane as the MRCA. The MRCA shall be single-engined, and in that the Tejas shall be the most cost-effective choice.

Vivek Raghuvanshi does not appear to write for the ToI any longer, which may be indicative of the lesser credibility of his articles, though ToI itself is a highly biased and often exaggerative paper.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

abhiman you have SERIOUSLY BEGUN TO GET ON EVERYBODY"S NERVES NOW! stop this bullshit steamrolling nonsense on your effing LCA for MRCA shit. you are putting everyone to sleep, and nobody even reads your silly lengthy referenced comments anymore. when i see your bloody footnotes, i feel like pulling out a pump-action shotgun and taking it to your face. an earnest request, my man. please obsess with something else now. we have really had it up to here with your LCA nonsense.

sniperz11 said...

Speak for yourself anon. Dont try to include everyone in your opinion please.

Abhiman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abhiman said...

Anonymous, I may politely ask you which Air-Force operates 3 types of twin-engined fighters ?* When even the thrice as large China is interested only in single-engine planes after abandoning Su-30 MKK, India can also surely induct single-engine planes as MRCA-----not because Chinese are also doing it, but because if they don't induct, we on account of being their military adversary, do not have to either.

The IAF is unlikely to have more than 2 types of twin-engined fighters in service at any point of time, because of their higher operation costs. The IAF's new doctrine of "Force Projection" also does not require twin-engined fighters; USAF F-16s were used in the Iraq war effectively and as many F-18s were not needed. Besides, DRDO will develop the twin-engined MCA, which shall serve the IAF for many decades.

*Note : Russia still operates its Soviet-era older MiG-25 and derivatives till now in addition to Su-30 and MiG-29. But MiG-25 is in the process of being decommissioned. Moreover, it has 8 times the land-area of India.