The revised bids were submitted Jan. 12. After the original request for proposals (RFP), released toward the end of 2007, Airbus Military’s A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) was disqualified as being too expensive. Ilyushin’s bid also was disqualified when it did not deliver clarifications on its IL-78 proposal to the ministry of defense on time.
Since the price of both vendors’ offerings is already known, the new RFP asks for lifecycle costs, which were not covered in the earlier RFP. While the initial costs of the Russian aircraft are lower, their operating costs are much higher than for the Western tankers due to their age, a defense official says.
The A330 MRTT is in the process of being delivered to Australia. “This time, we have an even better case as the aircraft is certified flown and proven,” says Airbus Military spokeswoman Barbara Kracht. “An added advantage of the A330 is it is a proven platform with over 80 operators.”
Airbus says the MRTT can be equipped with a combination of an aerial refueling boom system for receptacle-equipped receiver aircraft, Cobham 905E/805E under-wing refueling pods for probe-equipped receiver aircraft, and a universal aerial refueling receptacle system for self-refueling.
The new RFP falls under India’s Defense Procurement Procedures 2010 regime.