HAL Is Better Suited To Collaborate On The MRFA Project With Any Foreign Aerospace Major: Madhavan
- The original plan called for 18 planes to be produced in France and 108 in India, both in partnership with HAL.
- The defence ministry signed a Rs 48,000 crore agreement with HAL in February of last year to buy 83 Tejas fighter planes for the Indian Air Force.
In order to produce combat jets in India for the ambitious Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is better positioned than any other foreign military aircraft manufacturer, according to R Madhavan, chairman and managing director of the state-run aerospace behemoth.
One of the largest military acquisition programmes in recent years, the government is pressing forward with plans to purchase 114 jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a staggering cost of USD 20 billion.
At first, it was stated that the plane will be purchased under the strategic partnership (SP) model, which requires a foreign manufacturer to work together with an Indian firm to produce large-scale military systems.
The top HAL official further stated that the government should choose the aircraft for the IAF under the MRFA programme and that the choice of the Indian partner should be left to the plane’s maker.
“HAL is considerably better suited to work with a foreign company to produce the aircraft given our resources and expertise. We definitely intend to serve as the project’s Indian entity “In an interview with PTI, Madhavan stated.
The HAL director simply responded that it should be up to the businesses to come up with a solution when asked if the mammoth project should be carried out under the strategic partnership model.
“Once an aircraft has been chosen, the manufacturer should choose its Indian partner and allow them jointly submit a quote. There is a chance, “Added Madhavan.
“Let it go if the original equipment manufacturer thinks HAL is a good partner to work with. Allow them to go there if it discovers someone else “he added
In order to purchase 114 planes, the IAF filed an RFI (Request for Information), also known as an initial tender, in April 2019.
Top contenders for the contract include the F-21 from Lockheed Martin, the F/A-18 from Boeing, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Rafale from Dassault Aviation, the MiG 35 from Russia, and the Gripen from Saab.
The winner of the mammoth project will need to assure the transfer of technology because it will be implemented within the context of the “Make in India” policy, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said last week to PTI.
In addition, Madhavan referred to the preparations made by HAL and Dassault Aviation about ten years ago for the manufacture of Rafale jets in India as part of discussions for the acquisition of a fleet of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).
The original plan called for 18 planes to be produced in France and 108 in India, both in partnership with HAL.
The MMRCA’s final negotiations went on until the beginning of 2014, but a solution could not be reached.
A contract to buy 36 Rafale jets for Euro 7.87 billion (about Rs. 59,000 crore) was inked by the NDA government with France in 2016.
“Then, we put forth a lot of effort. However, this does not mean that for the MRFA project, we should exclusively choose Dassault Aviation. We are willing to collaborate with any big aerospace company if they choose Boeing, Lockheed, or any other manufacturer “said Madhavan.
The Tejas aircraft, a highly manoeuvrable multi-role supersonic fighter jet that can operate in high-threat air scenarios, is made by HAL.
The defence ministry signed a Rs 48,000 crore agreement with HAL in February of last year to buy 83 Tejas fighter planes for the Indian Air Force.
The much-discussed strategic partnership concept enables domestic defence producers to collaborate with top international defence conglomerates to create cutting-edge military platforms.
The goal of the approach is to lessen reliance on imports.
First, four categories will be used to pick the strategic partners: fighter jets, helicopters, submarines, and armoured fighting vehicles or main battle tanks.