April 16, 2014

IAF to involve private company in depot overhaul

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to rope in a private player to overhaul its maintenance wing. Plans are afoot to invite global tenders for modernization of all 13 base repair depots (BRDs) under the maintenance command, headquartered at Nagpur.

This is pegged to be an over Rs 360 crore contract to be handed over to a single player on turnkey basis. This follows the modernization of airfield infrastructure (MAFI) project of IAF. Tata Power's strategic electronics division bagged the contract a couple of years ago for revamping 30 IAF bases in the country.

BRDs under the maintenance command also need a revamp that includes bringing in new equipment, setting up of laboratories and also having an industry-like set up. The government feels instead of piecemeal basis covering one BRD at a time, there should be a holistic approach. Giving the job to a single company is expected to lead to a uniform and integrated approach. The project will have to be implemented in 3-4 years, said a source in defence ministry.

The details of the proposed request for proposal (RFP), which is the document for seeking bids from private players has been received by the ministry recently. A further decision is awaited. The government has already given an in-principle approval followed by an approval of necessity for the maintenance command modernization project, the source said.

The different BRDs look after maintenance and repairs of different types of aircraft as well as other equipment like radars and air defence systems. Recently there has been a push to involve private sector in defence aircraft maintenance. Tenders have already been invited for getting private participation in the overhaul of Mig-29 fighters and the AN-32 transport aircraft. The submission of bids is scheduled in current month and open of tenders planned before end of May, said sources in the ministry.

The move to revamp IAF's maintenance set up is prompted by the success in the MAFI project. Tatas had also evinced interest in Mig-29 and AN-32 overhaul projects before the formal proposal was called. The exact number of private parties interested will be known once the bids are submitted.
- Times of india

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