IAF completes commercial talks for airfields modernisation

The IAF has completed contract negotiations for its ambitious USD 238-million airfields modernisation programme and the project would now be put up for approval before the CCS, Parliament`s Committee on Defence has been informed.

Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 18:26 PM IST

New Delhi: The IAF has completed contract
negotiations for its ambitious USD 238-million airfields
modernisation programme and the project would now be put up
for approval before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS),
Parliament`s Committee on Defence has been informed.

In the action taken report on the committee`s
recommendations, tabled in Parliament today, the government
also informed that under the first phase of the Modernisation
of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI) project, 30 airfields
across India would be taken up for upgrading.
However, the committee, which had made the recommendation
in its report earlier this year on Defence Ministry`s Demands
for Grants for 2010-11, said the government should consider
expeditiously completing commercial negotiations for Phase II
of the project too within a fixed time.

"MAFI project aims to modernise navigational aids at all
the airfields and 30 airfields are included in the Phase I and
remaining will be included in Phase II of the project.

"Commercial Negotiation Committee for MAFI Phase I has
been completed. The case will now be progressed for obtaining
the approval of the CCS," the government said in reply to the
committee`s recommendations.

The committee had noted that the time taken for the Phase
I of the project was three-and-half-years since the contract
is awarded and same amount of time would be taken for Phase-II
of the project too under which another 20-odd airfields would
be modernised.

The project was mired in a controversy after one of the
contenders for the contract, Italian company Selex Sistemi,
had filed a case against India choosing Tata Power as the
winner of the deal.

But Air Force sources said the legal tangle had been
sorted out already.

The MAFI, when completed, would provide IAF airfields with
latest equipment and aids including Tactical Air Navigation,
Integrated Landing Systems, upgraded communication systems,
airfield approach aid systems, Digital Measuring Systems, VHF
Omni Range, Range Navigation aids and modern meteorological
facilities.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for airfield upgradation
was issued in 2007 and sent to various global players which
include US defence major Raytheon bidding jointly with Tata
Power, French Siemens and Thales and Italian consortium
Finmeccanica.

The first airfield to be upgraded under Phase I would be
Hindan in Ghaziabad near here, which will be the home base for
the C-130J military transport aircraft that will reach there
from the US in February next year.

PTI