Ten­der to ’Buy & Make’ PC-7 air­craft

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE -

The bat­tle for ba­sic train­ers just went to the next level. While the Hindustan Aero­nau­tics Limited (HAL ) has fought hard to keep its HTT-40 pro­pel­ler trainer on the ta­ble for the In­dian Air Force’s (IAF) ba­sic train­ing re­quire­ment, the IAF has dis­missed HAL’s reser­va­tions and for­mally called for 106 more Pi­la­tus PC-7 MkII train­ers to com­plete its ur­gent re­quire­ment. The IAF’s ten­der calls for a ‘Buy & Make’ ac­qui­si­tion which it en­vis­ages as a cer­tain num­ber of air­craft pur­chased in fly­away con­di­tion from Pi­la­tus (like the 75 air­craft from the orig­i­nal or­der), and the re­main­ing built in coun­try by an In­dian part­ner as part of a cor­po­rate joint ven­ture with Pi­la­tus air­craft. The move is only the lat­est in what has been a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing face-off be­tween the IAF and HAL over the last two years for the ba­sic trainer re­quire­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­quest for in­for­ma­tion (RFI), “It is de­sired that suit­able In­dian ven­dors (in­clud­ing an In­dian com­pany form­ing joint ven­ture/es­tab­lish­ing pro­duc­tion ar­range­ment with the air­craft orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­turer) pro­pose ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ scheme to sup­ply cer­tain num­ber of PC-7 Mk II air­craft in fly­away con­di­tion along with req­ui­site as­so­ci­ated equip­ment as the ‘Buy’ por­tion fol­lowed by li­censed pro­duc­tion/indige­nous man­u­fac­ture in In­dia un­der the ‘Make’ por­tion.” The RFI comes shortly af­ter the IAF pro­posed that one of its base re­pair de­pots was ca­pa­ble of un­der­tak­ing the li­cence build of PC-7s in coun­try, as re­ported ear­lier by SP’s M.A.I.

The IAF has made it a point to em­pha­sise the ur­gency of the re­quire­ment too: PC-7 MK II and as­so­ci­ated equip­ment are re­quired to be in­ducted ur­gently into the IAF. Hence, the pro­posal must be made keep­ing this fac­tor in mind and en­sur­ing that the in­duc­tion of air­craft and equip­ment can com­mence by 2015-16 and be com­pleted by 2020-21. The Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) has al­ready con- tracted 75 PC-7 Mk II. It is in­tended to pro­cure the bal­ance 106 PC-7 Mk II un­der the cat­e­gory of ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ as stip­u­lated at Para 4(c) of DPP-2013. PC-7 Mk II air­craft are re­quired to be sup­plied along with req­ui­site GSE/GHE, tools, testers, pub­li­ca­tions, ground­based train­ing sys­tems (in­clud­ing fixed base full mo­tion sim­u­la­tor, cock­pit pro­ce­dure trainer and avion­ics part task trainer) and spares. The tools, testers and spares must be ad­e­quate for un­der­tak­ing up to ‘Intermediate’ level ser­vic­ing in IAF.

The IAF has also stip­u­lated strin­gent indige­nous con­tent re­quire­ments in the pro­posed li­cence build: ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ must have min­i­mum 50 per cent indige­nous con­tent on cost ba­sis. This im­plies that indige­nous con­tent in the to­tal of (i) Ba­sic Cost of Equip­ment; (ii) Cost of Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ Rec­om­mended List of Spares; and (iii) Cost of Spe­cial Main­te­nance Tools and Spe­cial Test Equip­ment (ref­er­ence parts 1(a), 1(c) and 1(d) of “Commercial Of­fer”, Ap­pen­dix G to Sched­ule I) must be at least 50 per cent of the to­tal con­tract value. (c) In ad­di­tion, such cases re­quire min­i­mum 30 per cent indige­nous In­dian con­tent in the first ba­sic equip­ment made/as­sem­bled in In­dia and in sub­se­quent de­liv­er­ies thereof. (d) How­ever, no min­i­mum indige­nous con­tent shall be re­quired for the ‘Buy’ por­tion of the con­tract, in case a ‘Buy’ por­tion is ap­proved at the stage of ac­cord of ac­cep­tance of ne­ces­sity.

Mean­while, HAL is pow­er­ing on with the HTT-40 de­vel­op­ment ef­fort, be­ing funded from in­ter­nal ac­cru­als to the tune of at least

150 crore. HAL is hop­ing to con­duct a first flight by next year. The lat­est from the de­vel­op­ment is HAL scout­ing for fire con­trol han­dles, fire and over­heat de­tec­tion sys­tems and var­i­ous raw ma­te­ri­als for the first pro­to­type.

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