Airbus MRTT aircraft purchase put on hold

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Blackwater, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    [​IMG]

    India’s US$ 1.4 billion (INR 9,000 crore) project to acquire six Airbus-330 mid-air refueling aircraft or tankers has been put on hold after the government referred the deal to the defense ministry’s vigilance department for clearance.

    "The work of the contract negotiations committee (CNC) had been stopped till the vigilance wing ascertains the status of the old cases," Times Of India quoted unnamed source as saying.

    The contract with Airbus has been delayed due to the pending inquiries against the European consortium dating back to the mid-1970s. The procurement case was sent to the law ministry for an opinion after a member of parliament wrote to the MoD against it. "But at least one of the CBI cases was found to have been closed due to lack of evidence," said a source.

    The mid air refueling tanker would double the strike range of fighters and bombers and would bolster IAF’s strategic reach.

    Two-engine Airbus-330 MRTT (multi-role tanker transport) aircraft was selected over the four-engine Russian Ilyushin-78 in January 2013. The finance ministry had baulked at the high price of the European aircraft and sought the defence ministry to seek buyers afresh.

    A new RFP was released in September 2010. The budget was increased to $2 billion and included lifecycle costs in the price arguing that the Airbus plane would work out cheaper in the long term over its Russian competitor if lifecycle costs were to be considered.

    India’s $1.4 Billion Airbus MRTT Aircraft Purchase Put On Hold
     
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  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The contract with Airbus has been delayed due to the pending inquiries against the European consortium dating back to the mid-1970s.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Not to worry.

    It will work out.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it may not be a duck. It could be a goose or a gander.

    Ilyushin-78 is a great platform, but it is huge ATF guzzler.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
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  5. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    How much refuelers are used?? IL-76/78 fleet has seen low use. ATF is not a big issue if the usage is low.

    India has no long range bombers which are the primary clients of refuelers.

    Most likely these planes will be bought and then decorate the tarmac for years. Why not IL-78 which at least cost less.
     
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  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I am concerned at the sheer variety in our defence procurement in certain categories. How many different varieties are we looking at?

    We might as well get one of each kind.
     
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  7. grampiguy

    grampiguy Regular Member

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    Most of the air-refuellers are refined airliners, for example, A-330 MRTT is A330 aircraft's military version, Boeing KC-46 is tanker version of Boeing 767 and the series goes on.... Most airliners have longer air-frame life up to even 40-50 years. So there is a new thinking in the military world today of using second hand airliners as modified tankers. So, taking a 7-8 year old air-frame and getting it refurbished with refuelling pods seems to be an easier and cheaper solution. Israel has been a pioneer in this direction, selling tankers to Colombia and Brazil.

    One wonders whether IAF can go this way? In the era of tight budgets, it won't hurt if used A-330s are modified or Boeing-767 are modified with Israeli help. This will last minimum for next 35-40 years and would be cheap as well and who knows by then the concept of air warfare would go through a drastic paradigmatic shift.

    Moreover, the tanker requirement is not 6 or 10 in IAF. I should remind here that during the recent Libyan Crisis, French didn't have enough tankers to fight so Americans helped them. IAF would require minimum of 45-50 tankers to support its fighters for long leg operations. Wondering whether IAF ever thought about that, instead of buying six tankers for 15,000 crore rupees ???
     
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  8. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    IAF is unlikely to fight a war very far from its major airbases in the foreseeable future. IAF is not going to Africa to fight a war like France. France may need refuelers, that is their problem.

    IAF's need for refueler may arise to defend A&N islands or if serious challenge arises to Indian shipping in the Arabian sea. However it is unlikely it will require a massive air operation to need a very large fleet.
    IL-78 should be enough for IAF.
     
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  9. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    who said???? IL-78 is cheaper to buy but expensive to maintian.

    there is saying in hindi "pass ke fayde se door ka nukasan dekhna jaroori ha"
     
  10. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Do you have the figures to support your statement?
    IL-76 is a very sturdy plane. The IL-76 will new engines has higher payload and longer range.
     
  11. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    if this the case india would not have opted for C-17:p:p
     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    @sgarg, @Blackwater is correct. Boeing C-17 is more fuel efficient than Ilyushin-76. India operates both as the former saves money in peace time, and the latter is not going to be placed under sanctions in war time and is more sturdy.

    Any new refueller that we procure should be on these two platforms, but I guess MoD wants to avoid buying US made airplanes for the same reason as possibility of sanctions, and so is opening up to Airbus.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2015
  13. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    @pmaitra, C-17 is not being bought as refuler. It is Airbus A330 MRTT.

    Specs for A330MRTT:
    Payload: 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) non-fuel payload
    Length: 58.80 m (193 ft)
    Wingspan: 60.3 m (198 ft)
    Height: 17.4 m (57 ft)
    Wing area: 362 m2 (3,900 ft2)
    Empty weight: 125,000 kg (275,600 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 233,000 kg (514,000 lb)
    Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce Trent 772B or General Electric CF6-80E1A4 or Pratt & Whitney PW 4170 turbofans, 320 kN (72,000 lbf) 320 kN each
    Fuel Capability: 111,000 kg (245,000 lb) max, 65,000 kg (143,000 lb) at 1,000 nmi (1852 km) with 2 hours on station

    IL-78 specs
    Capacity: 127,932 kg (282,042 lb) payload (T-6 military jet fuel)[25][29]
    Length: 46.59 m (152 ft 10 in)
    Wingspan: 50.5 m (165 ft 8 in)
    Height: 14.76 m (48 ft 5 in)
    Wing area: 300 m2 (3,200 sq ft)
    Empty weight: 72,000 kg (158,733 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 210,000 kg (462,971 lb)
    Special equipment: 3 x UPAZ-1M 'Sakhalin', (oonifitseerovannyy podvesnoy agregaht zaprahvki — standardised suspended refuelling unit), refuelling pods; Two on pylons under the outer wings, and the third on the port side of the rear fuselage.
    Fuel transfer rate: up to 1361 kg/min (3000 lbs/min)
    Powerplant: 4 × Aviadvigatel D-30 KP turbofan engines, 118 kN (27,000 lbf) thrust each
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2015
  14. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    @pmaitra, it makes more sense to buy more IL-78. Why introduce a new tanker type? There are some 20+ IL-76 and 6 IL-78 in India. Additional IL-78 can be serviced from the same spares and technical pool.
     
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  15. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    And thereby hangs the tale. IAF has had problems with spares for IL-78MKI.

    I also suspect that A330 MRT was also chosen for some political leverage as well.
     
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  16. archie

    archie Regular Member

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    A-330 has bigger avaiablility of spares being based on civil version is that not ?
     
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  17. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    There are a lot of il-76 around. The spares problem that you mention seems spurious as all planes are flying and none are grounded. Russian air force has 100s of these and is buying 39 more.
     
  18. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Does not necessarily help in wartime. Il-76 have unique features being a military plane like capable of landing on dirt airstrips.
     
  19. archie

    archie Regular Member

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    Range will help will it not?
     
  20. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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  21. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    You tell me actual war scenarios where il-78 will fall short.
     

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