Defence News, Nation, (New Delhi), January 28:-In the already long-delayed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas fighter programme, the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) proposal for supplying 83 jets to the Air Force has been repeatedly found non-compliant with its requirements and the matter would now be taken to the Defence Ministry for deciding the future course of action, top IAF officials said.
The IAF had issued a single vendor tender to HAL in December 2017 and HAL submitted its first technical and commercial response to it in March 2018.
“There were three major defects in their response to the RFP. The PSU offer on price and other aspects was valid only for 12 months whereas the procurement procedure mandates it to be minimum 18 months and the delivery schedule offered by the HAL was not in compliance with our requirements,” top IAF officials told ANI.
“The endurance levels or the amount of time for which the aircraft can fly have also not been found to be very optimal. We had told the HAL that the ferry range of the aircraft was not compliant with requirements put in the tender by us,” the officials said.
The top commanders of the force during their commanders’ conference in October last year had told HAL to rectify the problems in the tender proposal and get back with the right response.
However, the IAF officials said it received two responses in last 15 days but the responses are still not in line with its requirements.
“A fresh delivery schedule was submitted on January 16, 2019 while on January 22, HAL submitted that the ferry range of the aircraft is in compliance with RFP requirements. The Technical Evaluation Committee report has been finalised and the delivery schedule now proposed by HAL, however, remains a non-compliance, for which the IAF is approaching Defence Acquisition Council,” they said.
IAF officials said programme had got delayed by more than a year after the acceptance of necessity accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for the Rs 50,000 crore programme in November 2016.
“The negotiations for the terms of the plan between HAL and MoD acquisition continued for more than a year as a result of which the AON was revalidated twice that led to a delay in subsequent issue of RFP. The delay was primarily because of the delay in resolving the delivery linked payment terms,” the officials said.
Officials said the case for procurement had to be taken two times more to the DAC, after initial sanction, by the government as the sanction for a programme is valid only for six months.
The Air Force has already placed an order for 40 LCA jets and has issued a tender to the HAL for another 83 Mark 1A LCAs to replace its vintage fleet of MiG-21 and MiG 27 planes but has had to postpone their phasing out in view of the delays in the LCA and other fighter aircraft procurement projects.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)