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

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 the event of the deal, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab and Dassault are expected to join other military aircraft manufacturer companies.

An RFI (Request for Information) or initial tender for the mega deal was issued by the Indian Air Force and the procurement will be in sync with the governments Make in India initiative in the defence sector, officials said. The RFI, which lists single as well as twin engine aircraft requirement thus opens the doors for a larger global competition, which would, in turn, translate into a modern, multirole fighter.

At least 85 per cent of the aircraft will have to be made in India while 15 per cent of them can be in a flyaway condition.

"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 said deal is expected to cost more than Rs. 100,000 crores or United States dollars 15 billion.

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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.

According to estimates, some 400 aircraft will be going out of service in the next decade. The deal will be with the government's Make in India initiative.

The OEM will also be responsible for training of air crew and maintenance personnel at suitable facilities to enable quick absorption of the aircraft and its technology by the IAF and SP/IPA. The new aircraft are meant to replace the IAF's MiG21 jets.

"The two aircraft have been positioned complementarily, and the purchase of the pair is an interesting proposition for policymakers from both countries", US-based think-tank Atlantic Council said in a report released in New Delhi yesterday.

This is the first major tender to be floated after seven billion Euros (Rs 59,000 crore) deal for 36 Rafale jets was inked by India with France in 2016 in a Government to Government deal. The Indian Air Force was keen on a follow-on order of 36 additional Rafales but the government is yet to take a decision on it.

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