Commercial bids for Mirage to open after CCS clearance

Bangalore: IAF Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Wednesday said that commercial bids for the multi-role fighter aircraft Mirage will be opened after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gives its approval.

"Mirage 2000 upgrade will be going to the CCS, after approval of the Defence Minister. I expect it in a week or two. The moment CCS gives a green signal…expected in a week, then we will open the commercial bids and identify the lowest bidder," he told reporters here.

Answering queries on concerns over delay in overhaul of Russian-origin transport aircraft IL-76s, he said, "IL as a fleet had performed very well, but it is ageing now. They do not have too much life left to take up very large upgradation."

He said IAF has approached the issue on ILs in various ways.

"So getting them overhauled as and when needed is one strategy. The other is purchase of C-17 aircraft which carries twice the load of the IL. It can land on shorter air strip.

The C-17 deal has already been cleared by CCS as you all know, so that will come through. So we have to replace ageing aircrafts," he said.

"We are also looking at IL-78, which has a different engine and different design", he said.

"As far as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control systems) are concerned, we have three of them and they are flying and performing extremely well. They are performing much better than our expectations. We are using them extensively in individual and joint exercises everywhere," the Chief of Air Staff said.