IAF begins process to procure 110 fighter jets worth Rs 973.8 billion

07 April, 2018, 14:46 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • IAF to conduct combat exercise'Gaganshakti from Apr 8

The RFI, which seeks information from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on the specifications of the aircraft, is for the single as well as twin-engine fighters.

The contract mandates that 85 per cent of the planes must be built in India as part of Narendra Modi government's drive to build a domestic defence industrial base.

In the event of the deal, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab and Dassault are expected to join other military aircraft manufacturer companies.

A Request for Information (RFI) was issued on Friday for the procurement stating that majority of these will be indigenously made in collaboration with foreign manufacturers under the strategic partnership model and the "Make in India" policy.

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"Procurement should have a maximum of 15 percent aircraft in flyway condition and 85 percent will be manufactured in India under "Make in India", said the Ministry of Defence.

This will be the first major deal for the fighters after the government canceled the purchase process of 126 Medium Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Air Force five years ago. A request for proposal will then be issued followed by bid evaluations and contract negotiations.

According to the RFI, around 75% of the aircraft will be single-seat ones. As regards the capabilities of the jet, the tender stipulates that the plane should be able to perform roles like air superiority, air defence, air to surface operations and reconnaissance.

Currently, the IAF has 31 fighter squadrons as against authorised strength of 42 squadrons.

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India began its search for new planes for the Indian air force in 2003 to replace its Soviet-era MiG fighters.

The RFI comes in the backdrop of the ongoing procurement of Rafale fighter jets from France and a delayed induction of the home-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

The fighter jets will be procured at a cost of Rs 973.8 billion, which is being considered as one of the biggest defense deals in recent years.

The Indian Air Force and navy require as many as 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to government figures. With talks stalling over price and quality guarantees, New Delhi scrapped the purchase in 2015.

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The F-16 production line will be used to service the orders from the Indian Air Force, as well as any follow-on global orders.

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