March 21, 2012
Having completed trials of the multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) in November last year in Leh, Ladakh (pix above), the bids of contenders Airbus Military A330 and Ilyushin IL-78MK, are presently going through price evaluations. The decision is expected to be made this year, Aerospace Diary learns.
The Indian Air Force flight trials in Leh at an elevation of 10,682ft (3256m), one of the highest air bases in the world, for hot and high conditions refueled with the Jaguar, Su-30 and Mirage 2000.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) for six tankers has been released twice over the past four years. The first time round, the bid was cancelled following the Finance Ministry's objection to high cost of the Airbus Military’s A-330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft that was selected. This decision was deemed to be unfair by analysts as the prices were released for both parties to see.
This time around, the only, but major change in the RFP has been a focus on lifecycle costs, something, many say, the Russians are not strong with.
“Between the first and second round, the costing model has changed. The company has worked hard to drive down costs……,” says Ian Elliott, Vice President, Defense Capability Marketing, Airbus Military.
“India did not want a boom. It required a hose and drogue system,” says Elliott.