India Floats Multibillion-Dollar Global Tender for 110 Fighter Aircraft

India Floats Multibillion-Dollar Global Tender for 110 Fighter Aircraft

India Floats Multibillion-Dollar Global Tender for 110 Fighter Aircraft

Indian Air Force has kick-started the process to procure 110 fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin has positioned the newest Block 70 variant of its F-16 aircraft for the Indian Air Force, while Boeing has offered its F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III for the Indian Navy.

The Indian Force in the request for information has marked that all the fighter jets should be delivered within three years of signing the contract.

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.

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 procurement should have a maximum of 15% aircraft in flyaway state and the remaining 85% will have to be made in India by a strategic partner/Indian production agency (SP/IPA)", it added.

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Officials said the jets will be produced jointly 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. According to the government response in Parliament, the Indian Air Force will get 32 Fighter Squadron and 39 Helicopter units by 2020. Of the 110, about 82 will be single seat aircraft while about 28 will be twin-seaters.

"The aircraft are intended as day-and-night-capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft" which can be used for air defence, reconnaissance, maritime, electronic warfare as well as refuelling missions, the statement said.

"The F-16 remains the only aircraft programme in this competition with the proven performance and industrial scale to meet Indias operational needs and Make in India priorities including unmatched export opportunities", he said.

Getting new aircraft is crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the South Asian nation faces increased risks from neighbouring Pakistan and China at a time when the Russian MiG fighters - India's mainstay - are being phased out.

The IAF has also stated its requirements in the RFI. 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.

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