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IAF awaits FM's nod for mid-air refueller purchase

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Finance Ministry has expressed reservations over the competitiveness of bids and prices in the tender for procuring mid-air refueller aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), government has said.

"Finance Ministry has expressed certain reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price," Defence Minister A K Antony said in reply to a Lok Sabha query on Monday.

European consortium EADS' Airbus A330 and Russian IL-78 are the contenders for IAF's tender to add another six refuellers to its existing fleet of the Russian aircraft.

The Defence Minister added the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) envisages a time-line of up to two and a half years from the date of issue of Request of Proposal (RFP) to signing of contract in multi-vendor cases.

Replying to another query, the Defence Minister said the government was considering the Kaveri-Snecma proposal for developing a fighter aircraft engine together.

DRDO was working on indigenously developing the Kaveri engine on its own but has now decided to tie-up with foreign vendors to work on the programme.

He added the RFP for procuring 99 engines has been sent to two engine manufacturers-- American General Electric and European engine manufacturer Eurojet.

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