An update after the Chief of Air Staff’s press conference

Hey people, thanks for all the questions here. Unfortunately, I was too busy breaking the news about the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee Part-II approval to ask any questions — but most of it was covered by the ones who did manage to get questions in. I’ve got it all in fowlscratch in my notepad, so here’s a general update of what the Chief said (I’m sticking to equipment modernisation, not the other stuff):

Technical evaluations of all six MMRCA proposals are complete — flight evaluations will begin early next year (I’m hoping this means the turnout at Aero India is a godsmack!). The Air Force will shortly formalise an order for eight Agusta-Westland EH-101 helicopters for its VVIP squadron, and an additional four EH-101 cargo variants.

Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) are almost complete for aircraft that will replace the IAF’s Il-76 heavy-lift transports. A request for information (RFI) for very heavy lift (VHL) transports will be sent out soon — the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III will be one of the contenders. The IAF has completed evaluations of two flight refuelling aircraft (FRA), the Airbus 330 and the Il-78. Price negotiations have begun.

Most of the rest of what he talked about, was the Pay Commission, the AV Singh-2 report approval, and manpower issues. Will post those tomorrow. I know — nothing about the LCA. But the thing he’s already said all that he has to say about it.

Photo Copyright Shiv Aroor / LiveFist / Chief of Air Staff ACM FH Major at Agra, 2007

19 thoughts on “An update after the Chief of Air Staff’s press conference”

  1. Are you kidding? I find it extremely juicy simply because what was not said is as important as what was said or left half-said. For example: the IL-76MKI-90 with PS-90A turbofans and an all-glass cockpit will be offered by Russia for the VHL requirement; if the A330-200MRTT is selected over the IL-78MKI-90, then expect the follow-on batch of three PHALCONS to be A330-based platforms (Raytheon & IAI had already examined this option very very seriously in early 2000 when bidding for Australia's Wedgetail AEW & C project); the six Mi-26Ts are nearing the end of their technical service lives and need to be replaced with either the CH-47F or Sikorsky CH-53K….the list goes on and on…you may check them out in my blog, especially regarding the questions that no one reportedly even bothered to ask. No offense to any journalists/reporters.

  2. to sengupta

    ya nowdays v have got phaltu money to spend

    to buy things like c17,P8I,a330

    i think il 76 have 40 years of life they still have 20 years more
    like C5 GALAXY r older than our
    il 76 and they still b used for another 20 years

    il 76,78 r well proven and each cost just around 50 million

    what will b the price of 25 C 17
    each costs over 200 million

    what will b the price of a330 tanker its over 170 million


    just 8 P8I costs exorbitant 2.2 billion

    MI26 just been acquired 20 years ago what is the need to replace them they still have 10 years of life

    CH-47F or Sikorsky CH-53K can’t match heavy lift capability
    of mi26

  3. Hi Shiv,

    It looks like a lot of things(changes) will be occuring in the IAF in a same period.

    If possible can you or prasun post a comparison between A-330MRTT & IL 78MKI?

    Also post a comparison between the VHL trasport contract contenders.


  4. to every one

    its UPA government pressurized by
    USA want us to buy costly and inferior american equipment


    just like

    197 helicopter deal scrapped under US pressure and reissued

    there is no match of mi26 these helos still have 20 years of life ,both chinook,ch53 r inferior to mi26 in heavy lift capability

    there is no match between il78 tanker and a330 tanker ,il78 is waaay cheaper and carry more fuel than a330, IAF already acquiring 6 more IL78MKI

    il 76 have just completed 20 years of their life they still have 20 more years and waaaay cheaper and US WANTS us TO BUY BLOODY COSTLY

    tu 142 have just completed only 20 years and they still have 20 more years of life and USA WANTS US TO BUY INFERIOR AND BLOODY COSTLY P8I

  5. HOW COSTLY IS A-330MRTT and its operating cost for JUST 14 for 20 years aircraft READ THIS

    After a painful selection and contract negotiation process the UK opted to acquire a new fleet of

    A330MRTTs. The aircraft will sourced from the AirTanker Consortium via a costly and complex private finance initiative (PFI) deal. The GBP13 billion (EUR16.3 billion) Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) contract was finally signed in March, to cover the supply and support of 14 tanker aircraft to the Royal Air Force over a 20-year term. The first A330 is due to enter RAF service in 2011, to progressively replace the current ageing VC-10 and TriStar aircraft. Operations will be based at RAF Brize Norton.

    in this case il 76,78 r much cheaper in price and thier operating cost is also waaaaay cheaper

  6. although a330 tanker will carry more fuel but what will b the cost

    and it seems nowdays v have money in abendance to spend on costly things and overlooking cheaper and affordable ones

  7. To Vishal Nalkur: The IL-76MDs will begin being replaced only by 2015 and by that time it will be cost-prohibitive to keep the IL-76MDs airworthy. Remember, Vishal, there’s no such thing as an aircraft becoming old or staying new. In aviation parlance, either an aircraft is serviceable and airworthy, or its not. The IL-76MD is no longer in production and has been superceded by the IL-76MF/TD variants with uprated engines and glass cockpit avionics (thereby reducing the cockpit crew from five to 2). Also, the newer IL-76s have a 55-tonne cargo haulage capacity, whereas the IL-76MD only had about 35 tonnes. The HAL-Ilyushin MRT is in a different category altogether and has a payload capacity of only 15-20 tonnes. The Airbus MRTT is in a different league altogether and if the IAF decides to merge the two requirements, i.e. that of the new strategic transport and the second tranche of aerial refuelling tankers equipped with probe-and-drogue refuelling booms, then the balance will shift decisively in favour of the A330MRTT.

  8. to sengupta

    The IL-76MDs will begin being replaced only by 2015 and by that time it will be cost-prohibitive to keep the IL-76MDs airworthy. Remember, Vishal, there’s no such thing as an aircraft becoming old or staying new. In aviation parlance, either an aircraft is serviceable and airworthy, or its not

    u r totally wrong for u r comment

    and get this in ur empty mind ,also open u r eyes

    and it doesn’t matter if the production has stopped or not
    the spares and upgrading is always available

    example mig21 bison upgrade


    IL 76 aircraft has 40 years of life ,if v can fly mig21 and upgrade them till now so whats wrong with IL 76 aircraft

    upgrading is much cheaper than buying newer aircraft

    US will fly their C5 galaxy till 2040

    US air force will fly their B52 till 2040 and they r older than
    il76 and upgradation is cheaper than buying new aircraft

  9. air force chief didn’t talk about y air force is flying mig21 till now y do not retire them in which pilots dying

    y air force wants to retire il76 and mi26 rather than mig21s

    air force is not retiring mig21 and that is the essential thing to do immidiately

    but they r not paying attention to it rather going for unnecessry things

  10. Can anyone paste link to approve AVSC ii report
    even draft
    will col ts and brigadier ts will come if so in how many years

  11. prasun, why is the IAF looking at the Airbus 330-200MRTT ??? for an un-informed layman, somewhere does it not make sense to go in for the IL-76MKI90 for the VHT, since we already so much experience in operating and maintaining the IL76. Then the commonality with the IL78 Tankers and the IL78 Phalcons/plus cheaper even with French/Israeli avionics………… a layman, it seems simple to use the IL airframe for the basic aircraft: IL76MKI90 for the VHT(24 new), IL78 Tankers (6 old plus 6 new) and IL78Phalcons (3 plus 3 new) ?????

    Also, with the HAL-IL together in the MTA are 45 enough to replace the aging An32 (approx 60 plus),(what about the older 40+ Avro748’s ????) and then the Dornier 228’s (28 old plus 12 new) for the LTA, when do they get replaced ???

    and, in all this, where do the C130j’s fit into the whole Transport Aircraft Gameplan ?? and are 6 enough ?? or are we getting to dependent on a single source and want to repeat of the Jaguar/Mig27 (or Mirage/Mig 29)story for transport aircraft also ??? your thoughts please, rgds,

  12. to anon above

    u r damn right

    it doesn’t make sense to invite
    a330 tanker cuz il78 tanker is much cheaper and affordable

    UK is paying 16.5 billion dollars for just 14 a330 tanker aircraft and its assotiated support for 20 years

    it also makes no sense to invite
    c17 for VHT cuz its bloody costly and il76mki90 will cost us only around 60-70million each

    it also didn’t make sence to buy costly c130j for 1.2billion beacause each c130j cost only 65million

    canada bought 17 c130j30 aircraft for 1.4billion and v bought 6 c130j for 1.2 billion isn’t it exorbitant

    infact v don’t need to replace il76 for now just upgrade them PS90A engine and it will b good till

    GOVT. had problems when russia increased the mi17v5 price and v wanted to renegotiate and in c130j and P8I case v didn’t even bargain
    and accepted that exorbitant price

    P8I deal too costly just 8 aircraft for 2.2 billion and each plane cost 275million and many stringes attached to it

    all i want to say

    “THIS IS A BIG GHOTALA” cuz each aircraft isn’t that costly for the amount of money v r paying

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