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

The production of four crucial military items - fighter jets, submarines, helicopters and new-generation tanks - are listed under this model. 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.

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.

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. IAF intends to use the aircraft as day and night -capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft. "The procurement should have a maximum of 15% aircraft in flyaway state and the remaining 85% aircraft will have to be made in India by Strategic Partner/Indian Production Agency (SP/IPA)", the RFI reads.

Nevertheless, this latest effort to get fighter jets is of immediate importance to the IAF, which now has a strength of 31 fighter squadrons (each of 18 jet planes), when it actually requires 42 to tackle the threat emanating from Pakistan and China.

More news: Mark Zuckerberg to Tinder users: GTFO

"Modi Scam Alert! 15 Billion $ fighter jet deal re-tendered". 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. 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. The fighter jets will be jointly produced by a foreign maker in collaboration with Indian company under "Make in India" campaign.

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. Currently, the IAF has on 34 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42.

Instead, Modi's government in September 2016 purchased 36 ready-to-fly nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets directly from the French government.

Each squadron has 18 jets.

  • Adam Floyd