Breaking the deadlock over the long-pending Avro transport aircraft deal for the Indian Air Force, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Wednesday cleared the lone bid of Rs 11,930 crore by Tata-Airbus consortium for the joint production of transport aircraft.
The project was stuck due to the single vendor situation despite being cleared last year. While 16 aircraft will be bought in fly-away condition, 40 will be made in India.
The DAC also cleared the acquisition of 145 M-777 howitzer for the Army’s artillery formations. The US had offered these guns through foreign military sales route. The artillery is in dire need of the guns as there has not been a single acquisition post the Bofors scam.
The other projects cleared by the DAC, chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, include 200 Russian Kamov choppers for the IAF and the Army with 100 per cent transfer of technology; and six sets of Brahmos missile systems for the Delhi class destroyers and Talwar class frigates.
It also set up a committee to work out the modalities, like price and offset, for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The government also decided to take Air India’s two Boeing 777-300 extended range (ER) as a replacement to the ageing Jumbo Jets used as VVIP aircraft for flying the President and the Prime Minister on long overseas tours.
PTI quoted sources as saying that no additional cost would be incurred on procurement of these aircraft. However, the aircraft will undergo a refit to cater to security threats and other aspects.