The Indian government has cancelled the much awaited multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft deal worth $1 billion on the grounds of planes’ high operational cost.
“We have recently cancelled the MRTT deal with Airbus Defence and Space because platforms are too expensive and not economically viable to operate”, a MoD official who declined to be identified said. The deal was to buy 6 MRTTs.
This is the second MRTT aircraft global tender to be cancelled by the ministry of defense since 2006.
“We have examined this deal very carefully and the budgetary approval has been rejected thrice by the Indian finance ministry”, the MoD official said.
“This is indeed a setback to us, as we want the MRTT aircraft desperately, and a fresh global procurement will take at least five more years”, said a senior air force official who requested anonymity.
The defense ministry selected the Airbus A330 platforms over the Russian Ilyushin IL-78 aircraft in July 2012 to be operated by the Indian air force for the next 25 years. (Russian Aviation/Business World Magazine)