Saturday, November 26, 2011

India signs contacts with Russia, France, Ukraine to upgrade IAF fleet

Contracts have been signed with Russia, France and Ukraine for upgradation of the flying fleet of Indian Air Force, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

"Contracts have been signed with RAC MiG Russia for upgradation of MiG-29 aircraft, with Spets Techno Export from Ukraine for upgradation of An-32 aircraft and with Thales, France along with with HAL for upgrade of the Mirage-2000 aircraft," he said in a written reply.

He said mid-life upgradation of the fleet is a continuous process and is undertaken to retain the combat relevance of the aircraft.

Antony said the capability building of IAF to meet emerging security challenges is taken as per the Long Term Plan of the force.

"The Capability building involves both upgradation of existing systems and platforms as well as induction of state of the art modern equipment," he said.

On procurement of amphibious assault vessels, he said, "A contract has been concluded with GRSE, Kolkata in September for construction of eight Land Craft Utility ships, which are likely to be inducted in the Indian Navy during 2013-15."

On purchase of Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs), Antony said, "There is a proposal for procurement of 187 Light Utility Helicopters under design and development project undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)."

He said the project was sanctioned by the Government in February 2009 and was proceeding as per approved time lines.

To a question on development of Kaveri engine for advanced version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), also known as Tejas Mk-II, Antony said, "DRDO is negotiating with French firm SNECMA for co-development and co-production of Kaveri Aero Engine for the LCA, Tejas Mk-II.

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