The issue related to pricing of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1A, to be manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has been finalised, said Apurva Chandra, Director General (DG) (Acquisition) in the Defence Ministry.
Procurement of additional Akash surface-to-air missiles (SAM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF), worth Rs. 5500 crore, had also been cleared by the Union Cabinet last week and it would be signed within a week, he stated.
“Pricing of the LCA, which was under discussion with the costing committee, has been finalised two days back in a meeting with the Secretary of Defence Production. Now, discussion for the support package is on. That also should be finalised in a month or two. So we should be in a position to sign the contract for the aircraft in the next 3-4 months,” he said at a seminar on Indian aerospace industry, jointly organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given the initial clearance for the 83 LCA-Mk1A aircraft in November 2016 and the IAF issued the Request For Proposal (RFP) in December 2017. However, negotiations have been stuck due to the steep price quoted by the HAL which, the IAF had said, was more than the price of a Su-30MKI.
The 83 jets are in addition to the 40 LCAs already ordered by the IAF in two batches of 20 each in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and the Final Operational Configuration (FOC) configuration.
Mr. Chandra also outlined major changes in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) and Defence Procurement Manual (DPM) as part of their revision
There would be separate chapters in the DPP on ship-building and air platforms, and sub-committees have been appointed to look into them. ‘’We would like to have a separate chapter on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) too”, he stated.
In August, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appointed an 11-member committee headed by Mr. Chandra to revise the DPP and DPM, with a six-month time frame to submit their recommendations. “We will come out with new versions by March 2020,” Mr. Chandra said.
In the DPM, the main thought process now was that it was common for all procurements, civil, stationary or military. “We should have three different approaches,” he added.