Monday, October 18, 2010

Once Bitten, Airbus Stresses Economy In Indian Tanker Re-bid

Indian wire service PTI has a report today quoting Peter Scoffham, Vice President, Defence Capability Marketing for Airbus Military as saying, "We are offering the new A330 MRTT as it provides the best value for money.No other aircraft comes close to A330 MRTT as aircrafts designed in 1970's cannot be compared with those being built now."

In September 2009, the Indian Finance Ministry had rejected the Indian Air Force/MoD selection of the A330 MRTT, calling it way too expensive. Reports at the time suggested that the final pricetag on the A330 MRTT package for six aircraft was Rs 8,000-crore ($1.8-billion), as against the IL-78M package that came with a pricetag of Rs 4,800-crore ($1.08-billion). The budget for the procurement was reportedly pegged at Rs 5,000-crore ($1.12-billion). The Finance Ministry wouldn't hear of the anything over that figure.

In the re-tender, the budget for the procurement has been hiked to Rs 6,000-crore ($1.3-billion). The competition is likely to be fought between Airbus and the Boeing 767 tanker. Though the latter hasn't officially committed to fielding its tanker in the competition, it is likely that it will. The IL-78M will compete, but the IAF doesn't want it. Overwhelming serviceability and support problems continue to dog the IL-76 platform, a situation that was partly responsible for the IAF choosing not to exercise a follow-on order of six more IL-78Ms, and instead float a fresh tender in 2006.


My name dosent matter, the comment does! said...

Boeing WILL enter the race, bribe its way to the win.
EADS cries foul, this contract ordeal will drag on just like the USAF Contract deal


The A330MRTT Wins, Fair & Square JUST LIKE IT DID in the USAF Tanker Bid.

Boeing cries foul, complains to the MoD or whoever holds the leash to this tender,
gets the contract cancelled JUST LIKE IT DID in the USAF Tanker Competition.

And therefore hello patched-up IL78s for another decade ;-)

Kunal said...

My name.....@ 2:23 AM

With AKA at the helm, what you've predicted is very much possible. After all, haven't we seen it happen in the artillery tender; not once but thrice. And even if it goes through MoD, the FM will be there to throw a spanner in the works, as was done the last time around in this tender.

Anonymous said...

if the MRTT is chosen will it replace the IL 78 in the IAF or will it just add to the air refueler force in IAF

Kunal said...

Anon @ 8:52 AM

It will add to the IL78M fleet. The IL78M fleet is beset with spares n service issues, hence IAF did not exercise the follow-on option for another 6 n went for a fresh tender in which MRTT came out the winner but subsequently the MoF struck it down on being too pricey n over budget.

Gautam said...

Buying the IL-78 was a misbegotten decision in the first place given its dated airframe and logistical problems. Sadly our MoD can't bring itself to look past the price and penny-pinch at every opportunity on the Armed Forces even as they and their cronies fatten themselves on defence funds with the world's finest VIP vehicles and facilities!

Good to see the 767 competing. But ideally an aircraft of the IAF's size needs at least 30 tankers, not six. Even the Pakistanis have as many tankers as us!

sam said...

It makes sense to select Boeing 767. With the P8I, the 767 and the c-17 order, Boeing will be in the driver's (pilot) seat and economies of scale will help us as well.