India to buy over 100 new fighter jets in world's largest deal

Indian Air Force seeks Rs 100000 crore fighter jets in world's largest defence deal

Govt begins process to procure 110 fighter jets for IAF for $9-13 bn

In the last two years, the Government was holding parleys with some global companies to manufacture single engine jets in India to overcome the shortage of fighter jets as pointed out by the IAF time and again.

"Request for Information for procurement of fighter aircraft for Indian Air Force for 110 fighter aircraft has been released by the Ministry of Defence". Of the 110, about 82 will be single seat aircraft while about 28 will be twin-seaters.

A 2007 deal to purchase 126 fighter jets from France's Dassault Rafale Aviation company was scrapped in April 2015 following a series of allegations of corruption and accounting errors.

According to the Indian Air Force, "85 percent will have to be made in India by a Strategic Partner/Indian Production Agency". The deal is said to eventually to cost at least Rs 100,000 crores.

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. As regards the capabilities of the jet, the tender stipulates that the plane should be able to perform roles like air superiority, air defence, air to surface operations and reconnaissance.

The urgent need for fighters has also been necessitated by the phasing out of Russian MiG fighters - India's mainstay. 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. The country's air force and navy require as many as 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to the government.

The competition could include the firms that had competed for the earlier Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) project that was subsequently scrapped and 36 Rafale jets are being acquired instead.

The IAF that is operating with only 33 fighter squadrons against the sanctioned strength of 42 will be further reduced to only 16 by 2032 and 19 by 2027. The NDA government after coming to scrapped the entire deal and signed a fresh deal to procure only 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition for Euro 7.87 billion (Rd 59,000 approx.) The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is still under development phase nearly after 35 years it was proposed.

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