India's defence ministry has issued a fresh request for information linked to its possible future purchase of six new in-flight refuelling aircraft, having put the brakes on a previous competition process late in 2009.

New Delhi confirms that it has issued the new request to potential suppliers, but declines to comment further on its requirements or potential procurement schedule.

Boeing says it has received the RFI and plans to participate, but adds that as "to what type we will be offering, that is still subject to internal discussions. The company has just received the RFI, and is studying it to determine India's requirements."

The US manufacturer already has the KC-767 tanker/transport based on its commercial 767 platform, but has also more recently given consideration to perhaps developing a variant of its larger 777 design.

The Indian air force now flies a fleet of Ilyushin Il-78MKI tankers and had received information on an improved version through a previous request for proposals for up to six new aircraft. EADS subsidiary Airbus Military had also supplied information on its Airbus A330-based multirole tanker transport as part of the contest, but the process was abandoned after India's finance ministry raised reservations about an acquisition.

India's military has a large fleet of Russian and Ukrainian-built aircraft, but closer ties with the USA in recent years have seen it place orders for Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports.

New Delhi is already looking to further this co-operation, having submitted a letter of request to the US government in January for a possible purchase of up to 10 Boeing C-17 strategic transports.

Source: Flight International