Home Global Economy IAF’s 110 Fighter Jet Deal Under ‘Make in India’ Finally Takes Off

IAF’s 110 Fighter Jet Deal Under ‘Make in India’ Finally Takes Off



New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Friday kicked off the biggest defense deals or also called as ‘mother of all defense deals’ in recent years. The government began the long-delayed process of buying 110 aircraft fighter planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF), by revamping global aviation majors to compete for producing fighter jets in India under the government’s “strategic partnership” policy.

IAF published a Request for Information on its website on Friday seeking the supply of single- and twin-seat jets to be mostly manufactured locally under the Modi government’s flagship Make in India scheme.

Of the planes, 15 percent have to be in flyaway condition with the remaining 85 percent to be made in India by a strategic partner, according to the terms of the request for information (RFI) issued by the defense ministry.

The RFI came after Narendra Modi government scrapped its old plan to manufacture 114 single-engine- fighters with the collaboration of foreign companies at an estimated cost of 1.15 lakh crore.

American aerospace and defense Major Lockheed Martin has even welcome India’s mega procurement initiative and shown interest in responding to the tender.

This latest effort made by the government to get fighter jets is of instantaneous importance to the IAF, which currently has a strength of only 31 fighter squadrons (each of 18 jet planes) when it actually requires 42 to tackle the everyday increasing threat emerging from notorious neighbors Pakistan and China. Furthermore, the 10 existing squadrons of old MiG-21s and MiG-27s are slated for retirement by 2022.

The Pakistan Air Force operates more than 80 F-16s, including second-hand F-16A/B Block 15 jets bought from the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The PAF is also inducting JF-17 Thunder fighters, which are often compared with the Tejas. Developed jointly with China, the PAF has nearly 90 JF-17s in its fleet.

Foreign manufacturers who get the tender will have to transfer technology and pledge the level of indigenization besides providing cost estimates.

The RFI has given detailed information about the technical requirements. These include maneuverability, maximum weapon load-carrying capacity, air-to-air refueling, The aircraft should be capable of operating during daytime and nighttime and take on multi-combat roles such as reconnaissance, maritime and air defense, and total lifespan.