April 24, 2018

IAF issues global RFI for production of 110 fighter jets in India

08 April 2018, 12:53 | Rufus Hill

India Floats Multibillion Dollar Global Tender for 110 Fighter Aircraft

Indian air force Jaguar fighter aircrafts

The Indian Air Force on Friday issued the Request for Information, or initial tender, for the procurement deal looking to buy more than 100 new fighter jets.

"The proposal is to procure approximately 110 fighter aircraft (about 75% single seat and rest twin-seat aircraft)".

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 USA geostrategic supremacy in the region.

Meanwhile, the new development has come as a rude awakening to American firm Lockheed Martin and Swedish company Saab, which were keenly anticipating a tender specifically for single-engine fighter jets making the F-16 and Gripen the front-runners in the deal estimated to be worth at least $10 billion.

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

According to the RFI, 15% of the aircraft will be bought in a flyaway state, and the rest will have to be made locally.

The total cost of the procurement could be between $15 billion to $20 billion dollars.

The Indian Air Force has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons-required for a possible two-front war scenario, given India's hostile relations with Pakistan and uncomfortable ties with‚ÄÉChina. The fighter jets will be jointly produced by a foreign maker in collaboration with Indian company under "Make in India" campaign.

India was revising the specifications to allow manufacturers such as Boeing Co. and United Aircraft pitch their twin-engine combat aircraft in the deal, people familiar with the matter said in February.

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.

The Indian Air Force was pressing the government to start the procurement process because of its depleting strength of fighter squadron.

Instead, Modi's government in September 2016 purchased 36 ready-to-fly nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets directly from the French government. The Indian Air Force was keen on a follow-on order of 36 additional Rafales but the government is yet to take a decision on it.

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