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

IAF issues global RFI for production of 110 fighter jets in Indiaā€¯

The RFI requires no more than 15 per cent of the order - or 16-17 fighters - to be supplied in "flyaway" or fully-built stage.

In an effort to bolster the dwindling fighter aircraft fleet, the Defence Ministry on Friday floated a global tender or request for information (RFI) for 110 jets. At least 85 per cent of the jets - three-quarters of which are single-seat aircraft and the rest twin-seat - have to be made in India and manufacturers interested in bidding need to send their proposals by July 6, according to the government.

Leading foreign defence hardware manufacturers like SAAB of Sweden, Lockheed Martin and Boeing of the United States, Dassault of France, MiG of Russian Federation and the European consortium Eurofighter are expected to compete for the deal that is eventually expected to cost upwards of about 15 billion dollars.

"The proposal is to procure approximately 110 fighter aircraft (about 75% single seat and rest twin-seat 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. IAF intends to use the aircraft as day and night -capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft. He was referring to the 2015 decision to buy Rafale fighter jets in a government-to-government deal, after cancelling the tender for 126 fighters under the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) deal.

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

It may be noted that the IAF is fighting a depleting squadron strength. against a sanctioned strength of 42, the IAF has an operational strength of about 31.

Instead, Modi's government in September 2016 purchased 36 ready-to-fly nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets directly from the French government. Modi wants to modernise the country's aging military equipment with a US$250 billion spending, but it has been bogged down by a defense procurement process which is known for delays, backtracking and a history of corruption, making it a sensitive, slow-going process. The IAF was keen on a follow-on order of 36 additional Rafales.

Each squadron has 18 jets.



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