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Indian Air Force begins process to procure 110 fighter jets
07 April 2018, 02:44 | Damon Campbell
Indian Air Force seeks Rs 100000 crore fighter jets in world's largest defence deal
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. 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.
The order would be worth between $9-13 billion (Rs 584-844 billion) making it the world's biggest global fighter buy.
The MoD has specified that about 75 percent of the 110 aircraft will be single seat fighters while the rest will be twin seater aircraft. "The procurement should have a maximum of 15 percent in flyway state and the remaining 85 percent aircraft will have to be made in India by a strategic partner", the RFI stated.
In other words, the aircraft have to be jointly produced by a foreign aircraft maker along with an Indian company under the recently-launched strategic partnership model which aims to bring in high-end defence technology to India. 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.
India began its search for new planes for the Indian air force in 2003 to replace its Soviet-era MiG fighters. Delivery of the fighters built in India must commence 5 years from the contract and be completed no later than 12 years from the signing date. The same performance-based logistic clause had also been included in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
India earlier scrapped a deal to buy 126 fighter jets from Dassault Aviation SA and opted to import 36 Rafale aircraft.
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 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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