Airbus Military has extended the validity of its bid for six A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport’s (MRTT) for the Indian air force till July this year. The bid was extended at the request of the Indian government.
“We are in the final stages of negotiations and down to the fine contractual details,” says a company spokesman.
“ We have extended the validity of the bids at the request of India to July. The elections will play a part in the time table clearly and we are being as responsible as we can.”
India’s next general election will occur before the end of May.
At present Airbus Military is responding to various questions regarding the contract and stresses that there is nothing substantial left to discuss. India is yet to finalise its choice of engine for its MRTT’s.
“The engine choice is a separate contest and our only role in the engine competition is to provide the performance data,” says the spokesman.
Existing A330 MRTT operators have selected either General Electric’s CF6-80E1A3 or the Rolls-Royce Trent 772B. The Pratt and Whitney PW 4168A engine option has yet to be selected by a customer.
It has now been more than a year since India selected the A330 MRTT. If the final production contract for six MRTT’s is awarded by July, India can expect the delivery of its first aircraft in three years. No options have been discussed at present though typically half the number of confirmed orders is a common arrangement.
India recently placed an order for an additional batch of six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules tactical transports. It had earlier ordered six of the type in a contract signed in 2008.