The new Indian government has issued the request for proposal (RFP) for 56 transport aircraft worth an estimated $2 billion, to replace the Indian Air Force’s aging Hawker Siddeley 748M twin-turboprops, known as Avros. The final date for submission of bids is August 28. The contract is expected to be awarded late next year or early in 2016.
Indian Air Force
A lack of decision-making on large Indian defense procurement deals in the past two years is expected to end with the swearing-in of the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Changes in procurement and offset policies are also expected.
The Russian unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) program revealed as long ago as 2007 may have reached the flight test phase. The evidence comes from a near midair over Arkhangelskoye on February 17, reported by the pilots of two L-29 jet trainers belonging to a civilian flying club based at the Barataevka airfield near Ulyanovsk. The L-29 pilots rapidly altered heading and altitude to escape collision with an unidentified flying object that they described as “a heavyweight unmanned air vehicle”.
Impatient with delays in inducting the HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer from government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the Indian air force has issued a request for information (RFI) for Stage II intermediate jet trainers. The Indian Air Force (IAF) requires 85 IJTs, and the cutoff date for RFI response is April 4.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into Rolls-Royce military deals. The investigation began just a day before the announcement of forthcoming elections and the beginning of the “model code of conduct” that disallows announcement of new projects. The probe follows a voluntary disclosure last December by Rolls-Royce to its partner Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) that it had used a consultant, Singapore-based Aashmore, for sales and logistics support in its business in the energy sector.
Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Geological Survey of India are to deploy a Dhruv light twin equipped with geophysical equipment for mineral exploration. Capabilities include detection of oil, gas and minerals (gold, copper, thorium and other rare earth materials) as well as environmental and nuclear surveillance.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (Booth H72) and Geological Survey of India are to deploy a Dhruv light twin helicopter equipped with geophysical equipment for mineral exploration. The dedicated aircraft was formally unveiled and named Garuda Vasudha by the country’s minister of mines, Dinsha Patel, in New Delhi last month. The Indian government is hoping to cut its oil import bill by finding such resources in its soil.
The Indian government last week stalled completion of several major military equipment deals until at least the end of the current financial year on March 31. “We have no money,” said defense minister A. K. Antony at the Defexpo show in New Dehli on Thursday.
Dassault Aviation received a development contract from the French Ministry of Defense for a further upgrade of the Rafale combat aircraft. Designated “F3 R”, the upgrade consists mainly of integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM; the laser-homing version of the Sagem AASM air-ground weapon; and the new Thales PDL-NG laser designator pod. There will also be some improvements to the Rafale’s avionics and defensive systems.
With national elections looming in India, speculation is growing that contracts for the long-delayed Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), could soon be signed.
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