Defence Ministry issues multi-crore tender for 56 new aircraft
NEW DELHI, May 9: In a first step of its kind to strengthen the indigenous aerospace industry, the Defence Ministry has issued a tender expected to be worth over Rs 12,000 cr to replace IAF's Avro planes with 56 new aircraft which will be produced by the Indian private sector firms.
The tender has been issued to eight foreign vendors including American Lockheed Martin, Swedish Saab, Russian Rosoboronexport, Spanish Airbus Military, Italian Alenia and Brazilian Embraer and they will have to find an Indian partner to produce 40 aircraft within India, IAF officials said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Indian majors such as Tata, Mahindra Defence Systems, Reliance Industries and L & T are expected to partner the bidding foreign partners for the programme.
The defence acquisition council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony had recently approved the IAF proposal for procuring these aircraft.
Of the 56 aircraft, the first 16 would be produced at the production facility of the foreign vendor while the remaining would be produced at the facilities of its Indian partner, sources said.
The first 16 aircraft to be produced in India will have to have 30 percent indigenous component while the remaining 24 planes will have 60 percent locally-procured and produced items, officials said.
They said the 56-aircraft project would help in developing a domestic aerospace industry and capability to undertake such projects.
In view of the fact that this would be first opportunity of its kind for Indian vendors, the Ministry has given five months instead the usual three months for responding to the tender.
The IAF fleet of Avro aircraft was inducted from the 1960s and are used for transporting men and material. The aircraft can carry loads of upto 7-8 tonnes.
Asked why the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has not been involved in the project, they said the PSU was already burdened with projects such as the SU-30MKI production and upgrades of IAF aircraft fleet including the Mirage, MiG 29 and Jaguar aircraft.
This project will help in widening the capabilities of the Indian aerospace manufacturing industry and creating a wider pool of players who can take up such activities.
India to protect our interests in Ladakh: Antony
NEW DELHI, April 22: Defence minister AK Antony said on Monday said that the government will take every step to protect its interests in Ladakh after Chinese troops entered the Indian territory in eastern Ladakh.
In a deep incursion, Chinese troops have entered the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post, setting the stage for a face-off with Indian troops.
A Platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) came 10km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15 and established a tented post there, according to highly placed sources, which said that a Chinese Army Platoon usually consists of around 50 men.
Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.
ITBP has asked for a Flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response as of now, sources said.
When contacted, the spokesman of Udhampur-based Northern Command Col Rajesh Kalia said, "due to differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) a few face-offs take place in the eastern Ladakh side. These are resolved amicably through existing mechanism."
He refused to elaborate.
The Ladakh Scouts, an Infantry regiment of the Indian Army and specializing in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.
The place has not been known to have any permanent civilian population.
DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China.
It lies at the easternmost point of the Karakoram Range in a cold desert region in the far north of India, just 8km south of the Chinese border and 9km northwest of the Aksai Chin LAC between China and India. Temperature plummets as low as minus 30 degree Celsius in the winters.
Other than Siachen Glacier military base, it is India's northernmost built-up area. The nearest inhabited town is Murgo to the south, which has a small population of Baltis who primarily depend on apricot farming and yak rearing.