The defence ministry is likely to soon take a decision on the joint bid of Tata and Airbus to replace Indian Air Force’s aging fleet of 56 Avro aircraft with C-295 military transport carriers.
Defence ministry sources said the next meetings of the defence acquisition council (DAC) will deliberate on the bid worth multi crore rupees. Though the meeting was scheduled to be held on February 9, it has been delayed by a few more days.
In May 2013, the Ministry had issued a global tender — called a Request For Proposals (RFP) — to original equipment manufacturers including US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin, European multinational Airbus Defence and Space, and Antonov of Ukraine among others.
They were required to tie-up with an Indian private company under which 40 aircraft will be produced here while 16 will be bought off-the-shelf.
However, only a single bidder — Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) consortium — had bid for the proposal in October last year.
Under the current defence procurement policy, single vendor situation is not entertained unless cleared by the DAC.
A decision to this effect was expected to be taken by the Ministry in November last but was delayed as defence minister Manohar Parrikar had sought more information.
The defence sources said a decision could be taken soon. One of the options, besides selecting the consortium, is to go in for re-tendering in which the Indian companies become the main player rather than the foreign ones.
Another option is putting the project on hold and go ahead with the joint development and production of ‘Multi-role Transport Aircraft’ with Russia, defence analysts said.