The Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent out the request for information (RfI) for a $15-billion order to procure 110 fighter aircraft.
About RFI :-
- The RFI document says the MoD intends to procure fighter aircraft for the IAF. The proposal is to procure approximately 110 fighter aircraft (about 75% single seat and the rest twin-seat aircraft). 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.
- The RFI, which has a ‘Make in India’ clause as well as requirement for both single- and twin-engine fighter machines, has been sent to six global vendors. These vendors are :-
♣ Boeing Company (F-18 Super Hornet) of the US
♣ Lockheed Martin (F-16) of the US
♣ SAAB (Gripen) of Sweden
♣ Dassault Aviation (Rafale) of France
♣ The European Consortium (Typhoon)
♣ Mikoyan (MiG-35) of Russia.
- The RFI has been issued ahead of the DefExpo-2018 scheduled for April 11.
- According to the document, the OEM should convey with adequate clarity their ToT offer for indigenous manufacturing of the aircraft in India.
- The response time for the RFI is three months from the date of issuance, and the acquisition process will be carried out under the provisions of DPP 2016, as amended from time to time.
Collaborations with Indian Agencies :-
- While Boeing is expected to announce its tie-ups with Hindustan Aeronautics and Mahindra Group during the DefExpo 2018.
- Lockheed Martin in 2017 announced its tie-up with Tata Advanced Systems as its local partner and currently is in talks with several other companies to build up the supplier network.
- Last year, the Adani group announced a collaboration with Swedish defence major SAAB to manufacture Gripen fighter jets in India, if selected CEO of SAAB, had said SAAB would do complete technology transfer including the “source codes” to India.
Present Situation of IAF Squadrons :-
- In spite of the sanctioned strength of 42 combat squadrons required by the IAF, this has drastically come down to 31 at present.
- There is requirement of at least 200 more fighter aircraft to maintain minimal squadron strength and capability.