Indian Air Force to procure 114 fighter aircrafts under Make in India: IAF Chief VR Chaudhari

The Indian Air Force, in April 2019, had issued an RFI (Request for Information), or the initial tender, to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 118 billion. The response to the Request for Information (RFI) has been received from several aerospace firms.

Created On: Oct 6, 2021 17:50 IST
Aircrafts under Make in India
Aircrafts under Make in India

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari informed on October 5, 2021, that the Indian Air Force will be taking forward the proposed procurement of 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) and that it will be carried out under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The Indian Air Force, in April 2019, had issued an RFI (Request for Information), or the initial tender, to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 118 billion. The tender was billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurement programmes in recent years.

The Indian Air Force Chief said that the response to the Request for Information (RFI) has been received from several aerospace firms and that the acquisition process has been taken forward to the next phase.

The top contenders for the deal included Boeing’s F/A-18, Lockheed Martin’s F-21, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Russian aircraft MiG 35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and Saab’s Gripen.

Significance

IAF Chief VR Chaudhari said that the procurement of 114 jets under the MRFA (Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft) and the acquisition of 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will help the Indian Air Force significantly in the face of a gradual drop in the number of fighter squadrons because of phasing out of the fleets of Mirage, Jaguar and the MiG 29.

He further added that IAF is also fully committed to the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Aircraft project.

Will there be additional Rafale aircraft in IAF?

On the question of whether the Indian Air Force will go for an additional 36 Rafale aircraft to deal with an immediate requirement, the VR Chaudhari suggested that the fighter jet could be one of the contenders for the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) Project.

In 2020, the then IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria had not ruled out the procurement of more Rafale jets and had said that the induction of French-made Multi-Role aircraft has given IAF an operational edge to strike.

There has been a view among some officials that IAF should at least have four squadrons of Rafale jets considering its operational aspects. There are 18 aircraft in the squadron.

IAF plans to bolster air power capability

•  India has been working on an ambitious USD 5 billion projects to develop a fifth-generation medium weight deep penetration fighter jet to significantly increase its air power capability.

•  The Indian Air Force has also been looking at technologies for the aircraft that can integrate the fifth and sixth generation technologies and the plan is to induct AMCA by the early years of the next decade.

•  IAF Chief informed that the force will have 35 squadrons by the next decade with phasing out of old aircraft and with induction of new ones.

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