Indian MoD Issues RFI to Procure 110 Fighter Jets

Posted April 08, 2018

Also, under the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) induction programme, IAF will now allow makers of both single engine and twin-engine combat jets to participate in the tender.

During the two-week Gaganshakti exercise, the Indian Air Force will mobilize 1,100 aircraft, including Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets and mid-air refuellers, to check its operational preparedness for any eventuality, officials said.

The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to procure approximately 110 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

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The Indian Air Force said "85 per cent will have to be made in India by a strategic partner/Indian production agency" and the first aircraft must be delivered within three years of signing the contract. According to the RFI, India intends to purchase a maximum of 15 percent of the total 110 fighters in fly away condition and manufacture the rest 85 percent under the Make in India program, the RFI issued on Friday read.

Earlier the Indian government was mulling over procuring single engine aircrafts F-16 Block 70 and Swedish company SAAB's Gripen, but according to reports published in Reuters, the government had asked the IAF to consider twin engine aircraft Boeing's F/A - 18 Super Hornet.

The order announced on Friday could be worth at least US$15 billion, and will be the world's largest fighter aircraft deal, said Rahul Bedi, a New Delhi-based analyst at Jane's Information Services.

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The jets should fall under the category of multi-role combat aircraft capable of carrying out roles like air superiority, air defence, air to surface operations, reconnaissance, maritime operations and air refuelling. The country's air force and navy require as many as 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to the government. India started looking for new warplanes in 2007, a contest that ended with the government selecting Dassault Aviation to supply 126 Rafale jets for $11 billion. If the present situation continues and older aircraft are phased out at the planned rate, then by 2027, the IAF could be left with just 19 fighter squadrons.

During French President Emanuel Macron's visit to India last month, an additional 36 Rafale righter jets were proposed to the Indian government; the ministry of defence is now reviewing the offer.

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