An update after the Chief of Air Staff's press conference

Hey people, thanks for all the questions here. Unfortunately, I was too busy breaking the news about the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee Part-II approval to ask any questions -- but most of it was covered by the ones who did manage to get questions in. I've got it all in fowlscratch in my notepad, so here's a general update of what the Chief said (I'm sticking to equipment modernisation, not the other stuff):

Technical evaluations of all six MMRCA proposals are complete -- flight evaluations will begin early next year (I'm hoping this means the turnout at Aero India is a godsmack!). The Air Force will shortly formalise an order for eight Agusta-Westland EH-101 helicopters for its VVIP squadron, and an additional four EH-101 cargo variants.

Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) are almost complete for aircraft that will replace the IAF's Il-76 heavy-lift transports. A request for information (RFI) for very heavy lift (VHL) transports will be sent out soon -- the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III will be one of the contenders. The IAF has completed evaluations of two flight refuelling aircraft (FRA), the Airbus 330 and the Il-78. Price negotiations have begun.

Most of the rest of what he talked about, was the Pay Commission, the AV Singh-2 report approval, and manpower issues. Will post those tomorrow. I know -- nothing about the LCA. But the thing he's already said all that he has to say about it.

Photo Copyright Shiv Aroor / LiveFist / Chief of Air Staff ACM FH Major at Agra, 2007

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