Delhi: India is planning 'a direct strategic purchase' of six flight refuelling aircraft (FRA) or tankers, as per a media report.
As per a report in The Times of India, the move is aimed to enhance the reach of its fighter jets, bombers and surveillance aircraft.
This is after the bid to acquire them through global tenders failed twice over the last decade.
The report said that the Defence Ministry has scrapped the proposed Rs 9,000 crore contract for acquisition of six Airbus-330 MRTT (multi-role tanker transport) aircraft.
Due to high costs and issues like CBI cases and change in the manufacturer's name from EADS Cassidian to Airbus Group, this had been in a state of flux for several years.
The Daily quoted a said a top MoD source as saying, "Airbus was told towards end-June that the RFP (request for proposal or tender), under which the A-330 MRTT was selected as L-1 (lowest bidder), has been withdrawn. A decision will now be taken for direct acquisition of FRA, a critical operational necessity for IAF.
The IAF had first asked in 2006 for acquisition of six more tankers after inducting six Ilyushin-78 mid-air refuelling aircraft in 2003-2004, the report said