IAI-India disagreements may delay Phalcon deal to 2004
Israel Aircraft Industries and the Indian Air Force disagree over the platform for installing AWACS electronics and who will purchase the planes.
Dror Marom 2 Oct 03 19:24
It is quite doubtful whether Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and the India Ministry of Defense will sign the deal this year for the delivery of three Phalcon AWACS planes to the Indian Air Force. Reports from New Delhi reveal disagreements between IAI and IAI-Elta Electronics Industries, which is supplying the electronics systems, and the Indian Ministry of Defense.
The India Air Force reportedly wants the electronics systems to be installed on a Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76 plane already in its service. IAI wants to deliver a complete package installed in an Il-76 or other plane purchased on the open market.
Indian Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswami said in New Delhi this week that delivery of the operational planes would probably be delayed as well. He said the delay was due to India's demand to upgrade and alter the planes. The Il-76 is no longer manufactured, which means Elta would have to buy used planes.
The Prime Minister's Bureau had hoped to sign the Phalcon deal during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to India in September, but this was not possible. The main reason for signing the deal during the visit was its symbolic value, arising from the deal's size and the Phalcon's importance as a critical component of India's strategy against nuclear-armed Pakistan.
The Indian Air Force asked Elta to adapt the Phalcon at the outset, and not wait until the planes were operational. "We're now making technical changes and adaptations to the planes," said Krishnaswami. "This process will take time. The changes are necessary to make the planes suitable for our Air Force's existing infrastructure, and we're seeking international experts for this purpose."
Krishnaswami did not disclose on which planes the Elta system would be installed, nor did he mention a precise timetable. IAI also declined to comment, stating, "We do not divulge details about our relations with our customers."
Published by Globes [online] - גלובס זירת העסקים של ישראל
- on October 2, 2003