New Delhi: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s (HAL) proposal for providing 83 Tejas fighter jets to the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been dogged by production delays at the state-run defence firm and the IAF is set to take the matter to the Defence Ministry for deciding the next step, top officials said. The IAF found HAL’s proposal to be non-compliant with the tender requirements. In December 2017, the Air Force had issued a single vendor tender to HAL, with the defence firm submitting its first technical and commercial response to it in March last year.
The Light combat aircraft was introduced in 2016, over 30 years since it was given the green light, with India, at the time, seeking to build a modern fighter from the ground up for the IAF that was totally reliant on foreign aircraft. “There were three major defects in their response to the RFP. The PSU offer on price and other aspects was valid only for 12 months whereas the procurement procedure mandates it to be minimum 18 months and the delivery schedule offered by the HAL was not in compliance with our requirements,” top IAF officials said. “The endurance levels or the amount of time for which the aircraft can fly have also not been found to be very optimal. We had told the HAL that the ferry range of the aircraft was not compliant with requirements put in the tender by us,” the officials said.
Rectify the problem
The IAF’s top commanders had, in October, told HAL to rectify the problems in the tender proposal and return with the right response. In the last 15 days, Air Force officials said it received two responses but the responses do not align with its requirements.
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