The Indian Air Force (IAF) hopes to receive tenders by end of this month in its second bid to rope in private players for upgradation of the aging fleet of AN-32 transport aircraft purchased from erstwhile USSR.
In a first, IAF last year had invited bids from private parties for upgradation of AN-32 transport and MiG-29 fighter aircraft. However, when the bids were received, only a si gle tender was received for the AN-32s though a few major players had initially shown interest.
"We needed to change certain aspects related to the conditions and invited fresh bids again, which are expected to be received by end of this month," said Air Marshal P Kanakraj, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of IAF's maintenance command based at Nagpur. He was addressing a press conference on the occasion of Air Force day. The process for MiG 29s is on track with the commercial bids expected be opened soon, he said.
The idea was to use the resources of the base repair depots (BRDs) under the maintenance command and get the work done from private players.
After USSR split, the manufacturer of AN-32s is now in Ukraine. According to the arrangement, the manufacturer had upgraded 40 aircraft but IAF has over 100 of them. As there were certain issues related to the upgradation of the rest, IAF decided to do it on its own. As much as 95% of the spares required for the aircraft have now been indigenized. With bids being finalized, it is expected that the country may, within a couple of months, be self-sufficient with this fleet, added a source.
Meanwhile Kanakraj added that indigenization was going on in full swing for other spares also. However, as far as the maintenance command is concerned, the focus was on indigenization of spares and consumables for the aircraft and other systems, rather than making a new weapons system, he said. A plan of upgrading the BRDs was also being considered by the ministry of defence, he added. - timesofindia