New Delhi: The first squadron of Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) consisting of 18 aircraft is expected to be inducted into the IAF within three to four years of signing of the contract with its supplier.
In reply to a question on delivery of MMRCA, Defence Minister AK Antony told Lok Sabha on Monday, "First squadron of MMRCA consisting of 18 aircraft is expected to be inducted within three to four years of signing of contract."
"The remaining 108 aircraft will be manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) and are expected to be inducted over the following seven years," he said.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for procurement of MMRCA was issued to six manufacturers of fighter aircraft. Of the six proposals received in response, proposal of Dassault Aviation for Rafale and EADS Germany for Eurofighter Typhoon were found complaint to the technical requirements in field evaluation trials.
"The Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) which is currently in progress found the proposal of Dassault Aviation as the lowest in terms of cost. Final decision will be taken after the CNC submits its recommendations," Antony told the House.
He also said the IAF is in the process of inducting additional Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Medium Lift Helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopters as well as C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft to augment its combat
aircraft, helicopter and transport aircraft fleet.
"Proposals are being progressed for procurement of MMRCA, Attack Helicopters and Heavy Lift Helicopters as well as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Medium Transport Aircraft," Antony said.
On purchase of trainer aircraft for IAF, the Minister said a proposal is being looked into for procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) from Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland.
The delivery of BTA is scheduled to commence 15 months from signing of the contract, Antony said.
Maintaining that there has been no delay in acquisition of Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), he said a total of 106 such aircraft are being inducted into the IAF.
On reducing the flying-hours of rookie pilots, he said, "Consequent upon the grounding of HPT-32 aircraft due to flight safety concerns and shifting of basic flying training to Kiran Mk-1 aircraft, the syllabus for basic flying training has been reduced keeping the available resources in mind."
However, flying hours have been increased in other stages of flying to ensure wholesome training, he said.
Replying to a query on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), he said, "IAF has placed orders for 40 aircraft for LCA Tejas on HAL. The deliveries of aircraft are scheduled in the 12th plan period."