The Indian Air Force is intending to acquire 114 fighter jets as part of PM Narendra Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme, of which 96 will be produced in India and the other 18 will be bought from the foreign vendor chosen for the project.
The Indian Air Force intends to buy 114 Multirole Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) under the ‘Buy Global, Make in India’ scheme, which allows Indian companies to work with global vendors.
“Recently, the Indian Air Force met with overseas vendors and inquired about how they planned to implement the Make in India programme,” government officials told ANI.
According to the plan, once the initial 18 aircraft are imported, the next 36 aircraft will be constructed in the nation, with payments made in both foreign and Indian currencies, according to the sources.
According to the sources, the Indian partner would be responsible for the final 60 aircraft, and the government would only make payments in Indian currency.
The payment in Indian currency will aid the suppliers in achieving the project’s above 60% “Make-in-India” content, according to the sources.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab, MiG, Irkut Corporation, and Dassault Aviation are among the global aircraft manufacturers likely to participate in the tender.
For the Indian Air Force to preserve its advantage over neighbouring adversaries Pakistan and China, these 114 fighter jets are critical.
The 36 Rafale aircraft obtained under emergency orders aided much in retaining an advantage over the Chinese throughout the Ladakh crisis, which began in 2020, but the numbers are insufficient, and the country will require additional such capacity.
The force has already placed orders for 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft, but it still needed a larger number of capable fighters because many MiG series planes have been phased out or are nearing the end of their useful lives.
The fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft project is progressing satisfactorily, but it will take a long time before it can be put into service.
According to the sources, the IAF is also searching for a cost-effective answer for its fighter jet demand, as it wants a plane that is inexpensive on operational costs and gives the service more capability.
The IAF is pleased with the Rafale fighter jets’ operational availability and expects a comparable capability in future aircraft.