The Indian Air Force's (IAF) deal for mid-air refuellers has been delayed as it awaits the approval of the finance ministry, Defence Minister A.K. Antony revealed Monday.
The IAF had proposed to buy six mid-air refuellers in a $1 billion deal three years ago.
'The procurement proposal had progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure-2006 (DPP-2006) and thereafter referred to the ministry of finance who has expressed certain reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price,' Antony told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The delay in approval has been despite the fact that the DPP envisages a time line of up to two-and-a-half years from the date of issue of tenders to signing of the contract in multi-vendor cases.
'Every effort is made to adhere to these time line,' Antony added.
The IAF has been operating a squadron of Russian-built IL-78 air-to-air refuellers, which help to keep the fighter aircraft in air for longer durations by refuelling them up in the air.
The IAF has indicated preference for the EADS Airbus A-330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft over the Russian refueller.