Thursday, December 17, 2009

NEW DELHI - India's purchase program for six midair refuelers may be rebid after questions arose regarding bid cost and competitiveness, Indian Defence Ministry sources said.

"The procurement proposal had been progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure-2006 and thereafter referred to the Ministry of Finance, who has expressed certain reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price," says a Dec. 14 Defence Ministry release, quoting the official reply of Defence Minister A. K. Antony to India's Parliament.

Four years ago, a request for proposal was sent to U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and Boeing, EADS and Ilyushin of Tashkent.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing did not respond to the tender, leaving only Ilyushin and EADS in the fray.

Ilyushin's bid was lower than that of EADS but the Air Force favored buying the A330 multirole tanker over the IL-78 of Ilyushin, which it had been using. The matter was referred to the Finance Ministry, which rejected the Air Force request, saying the lowest bidder should be the obvious choice.


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