New Delhi is considering a proposal from Honeywell to upgrade the engines of 125 Sepecat and Hindustan Aeronautics-built Jaguar strike aircraft, after issuing a sole-source request for proposals (RFP) in late 2012.
Honeywell recently submitted a bid for 270 F125IN powerplants to the Indian defence ministry, says an industry source at the Aero India show.
The US company says the F125IN will allow for 23% shorter "hot and high" take-offs, 17-40% higher thrust, greater mission range and better fuel efficiency. It adds that the Jaguars, introduced in 1979, have become overweight and underpowered following years of avionics and weapon systems upgrades.
New Delhi's Hindustan Aeronautics-produced Jaguars are now powered by Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour 811s. The UK engine manufacturer had proposed upgrading these to the Adour 821 standard. However, the company says that in November 2010 the Indian government issued an RFP to itself and Honeywell calling for a new design.
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In February 2011, R-R threw the planned upgrade into limbo when it decided not to tender for the work. This created a single-bidder situation that is generally not allowed under Indian procurement policy.
Although sole-source bids contravene normal acquisition practice in India, the air force and defence ministry appear to be making an exception in the case of the Jaguar, says the source.