Boeing ‘authorized’ to offer AESA radar with F/A-18 fighter

February 17th, 2008 - 11:08 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, Superseding earlier story)

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) The US government has “authorized” Boeing to offer a state-of-the-art radar with the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter that is vying for an Indian Air Force (IAF) order for 126 multi-role combat aircraft, the company said Sunday. However, whether or not the technology for the radar would also be transferred “is an issue for the US government to decide”, a Boeing official said.

He was clarifying remarks attributed earlier Sunday to Chris Chadwick, president of Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems of Boeing Integrated Defence Systems, that the technology for the AESA (Advanced Electronically Scanned Array) radar would also be transferred with that of the aircraft for licensed manufacture in India in case Boeing wins the IAF order.

The AESA radar enables the F-18 seamlessly shift into an AWACS (airborne warning and control system) mode while flying on a combat mission.

“I can confirm that we will be complying with all the requirements of the request for proposal (RFP) we have received from the Indian Air Force,” Chadwick told reporters earlier Sunday on the sidelines of the ongoing DEFEXPO-2008 international defence exposition here.

Transfer of technology and licensed manufacture in the country is mandated under India’s Defence Procurement Procedure enunciated in 2006. This procedure is now being fine-tuned in relation to the offsets clause under which 30 percent of all defence deals worth over Rs.3 billion have to be re-invested in India.

In the case of the IAF order, however, the offsets obligation has been raised to 50 percent.

“We have readied a fully compliant proposal (on the IAF tender) and will submit this three days early (against the March 3 deadline),” Chadwick said.

“We are very well positioned to establish a long-term relationship with the Indian Air Force and the ministry of defence,” he added.

Should Boeing win the IAF order, the aircraft would be supplied in four phases.

“In phase 0, we will supply 18 aircraft in fully assembled condition. In Phase 1, we will supply the aircraft in semi-knocked down condition with 1,800 parts and 300 tools,” said Mike Rietz, F-18 programme manager for India.

“In phase 2, the aircraft will come in completely knocked down condition with 17,000 parts and 1,000-plus tools. In phase 3, the aircraft and its entire range of 30,000 parts will be indigenously manufactured in India,” he added.

“In this way, we will gradually raise the level of technology that HAL (Hindustan Aircraft Ltd which will build the aircraft in India) will have to absorb,” Rietz explained.

The delivery schedule means that 108 of the 126 aircraft will be assembled in India, roughly half of them with Boeing-supplied parts while the balance would be totally built in this country.

“The RFP lays down that the first aircraft is supplied within 36 months of the contract being signed and the 18th within 48 months. The 19th aircraft, the first to be assembled in India, will come within 54 months.

“Thereafter, there will be an incremental increase with the last aircraft to be delivered by 2020,” Rietz said.

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