AERO INDIA: Two submit offers in Indian tanker contest

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Bangalore
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Airbus Military and Ilyushin have submitted bids in India's revived competition for six in-flight refuelling aircraft, while Boeing remains on the sidelines.

A source close to the competition confirms that the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) is in contention for the requirement, along with the Ilyushin Il-78 tanker. The Indian air force currently operates seven Il-78 MKs, says Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

India's defence ministry revived its roughly $2 billion tanker contest last September, after earlier in the year suspending its selection of the A330. It was unable to sign a contract after the nation's finance ministry criticised the deal's proposed cost.

Details on India's new selection schedule remain unclear, but the source notes: "There is no decision on the horizon".

Boeing has not submitted a bid with the 767-based tanker that it is now pitching in the US Air Force's long-delayed KC-X competition.

"Only upon the outcome of the KC-X competition will we be able to fully determine our ability to participate in future international competitions," says Vivek Lall, vice-president, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, India.

"Boeing is committed to helping our international customers meet their military requirements, but we are not in a position now to discuss in any detail interest expressed by specific customers," says Lall.

The manufacturer's 767 NewGen Tanker is being offered against EADS North America's A330-based KC-45 in the 179-aircraft KC-X contest.