Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Economy | By

Process to buy 110 fighter planes for IAF takes off

Process to buy 110 fighter planes for IAF takes off

The Indian Air Force on Friday started process to procure 110 fighter jets worth an estimated $15 billion.

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.

The Air Force has today released RFI (Request for Information) or the initial tender worth billions of dollars.

This will be followed by a request for proposal (RFP) or a formal tender, to be followed by evaluations, technical trials and commercial negotiations. The RFI spelt out that a maximum of 16 flyaway aircraft would be purchased from the global manufacturer and the rest are to be made in India under a strategic partnership model. Of the 110, about 82 will be single seat aircraft while about 28 will be twin-seaters. The remaining 93-94 aircraft must be built in India by a "strategic partner/Indian production agency (SP/IPA)". IAF intends to use the aircraft as day and night -capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft.

The IAF is in urgent need of new fighter jets as its operational strength has depleted with just 31 squadrons, as against the 42 it needs to counter the combined threat from Pakistan and China.

According to estimates, some 400 aircraft will be going out of service in the next decade.


The key to the overall success of Gagan Shakti will be maintainability of the fleet or the ability of the IAF to successfully launch as many aircraft as possible, whenever they are required with minimal failure rates in between missions.

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 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. With talks stalling over price and quality guarantees, New Delhi scrapped the purchase in 2015. But in September 2016, the government inked a Rs 59,000 crore deal to buy 36 French Rafale twin-engine fighters.

The fresh efforts for procuring fighters could pit single and twinengine aircraft against one another, as the defence ministry had asked the IAF to draw up a proposal that would include both types.

Indias latest hunt for over 100 fighter jets is the first mega procurement initiative for fighter jets after the government scrapped the process to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the IAF around five years ago.

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