India begins process to procure 110 jets for IAF

by Garry Watts April 8, 2018, 0:57
India begins process to procure 110 jets for IAF

According to the report published in Bloomberg, The entire deal could be worth at least for $15 billion procuring 110 fighter jets, out which 85 would be single jets and rest would be twin engine jets.

The defence ministry is expected to issue one of the largest global tenders, worth around $15 billion (Rs90,000 crore), for manufacture of fighter jets in India, under the "Make In India" policy of the government. The new aircraft are meant to replace the IAF's MiG21 jets.

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

According to the Indian Air Force, "85 percent will have to be made in India by a Strategic Partner/Indian Production Agency".

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. 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.

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The total cost of the procurement could be between $15 billion to $20 billion dollars. The country's air force and navy require as many as 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to the government. The NDA Government finally scrapped the proposed deal in 2014 and opted for buying 36 Rafales off the shelf from France.

It may be noted that the IAF is fighting a depleting squadron strength. against a sanctioned strength of 42, the IAF has an operational strength of about 31. With talks stalling over price and quality guarantees, the government scrapped the purchase in 2015 and bought 36 jets separately to speed up the process.

The IAF has been pressing for expediting the process to acquire the aircraft citing declining strength of its fighter squadron as some of the ageing jets are being phased out. U.S. aerospace major Lockheed Martin has joined hands with India's Tata Advanced Systems to build the planes in India.

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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