Indian Air Force begins process to procure 110 fighter jets

Apr 08, 2018, 00:57
Indian Air Force begins process to procure 110 fighter jets

In the report, Indias Quest for Fighter Jets: Make in India vs Make America Great Again, it said Chinas bellicose incursions in the Indo-Pacific region are challenging United States geostrategic supremacy in the region.

The Indian Air Force and navy require as many as 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to government figures.

In an effort to bolster the dwindling fighter aircraft fleet, the Defence Ministry on Friday floated a global tender or request for information (RFI) for 110 jets. As mentioned on the website of Defence Ministry, at least 85% of the jets are made in India, boosting PM Narendra Modi's initiative to localise production.

Leading foreign defence hardware manufacturers like SAAB of Sweden, Lockheed Martin and Boeing of the United States, Dassault of France, MiG of Russian Federation and the European consortium Eurofighter are expected to compete for the deal that is eventually expected to cost upwards of about 15 billion dollars.

The proposal is to procure 110 fighter jets and over 90 will be manufactured in India, according to the RFI issued.

The UPA government had initiated a deal with Dassault Aviation to procure 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA) Rafale, 18 were to reach India in fly-away condition rest 118 were to produce in India with collaboration of Indian company. IAF intends to use the aircraft as day and night -capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft.

"The F-16 remains the only aircraft programme in this competition with the proven performance and industrial scale to meet Indias operational needs and Make in India priorities including unmatched export opportunities", he said. The deal could be worth as much as $15 billion, Bloomberg reported, quoting an analyst. With talks stalling over price and quality guarantees, New Delhi scrapped the purchase in 2015. If the present situation continues and older aircraft are phased out at the planned rate, then by 2027, the IAF could be left with just 19 fighter squadrons.

The IAF that is operating with only 33 fighter squadrons against the sanctioned strength of 42 will be further reduced to only 16 by 2032 and 19 by 2027. But in September 2016, the government inked a Rs 59,000 crore deal to buy 36 French Rafale twin-engine fighters.

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