The Indian Air Force on Friday set in motion the process of acquiring a fleet of 110 fighter jets, one of its largest orders in recent years, in a bid to shore up its fast-depleting squadron strength.
According to a statement on the defense ministry’s website, at least 85% of the jets have to be made in India, giving a big push to India’s “Make in India” program.
The issue of the request for information (RFI) is the first step to acquiring the aircraft.
This will be followed by a request for proposal (RFP) or a formal tender, to be followed by evaluations, technical trials, and commercial negotiations.
Leading military aircraft producers, including U.S. firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Sweden’s Saab and France’s Dassault Aviation, are among those likely to vie for the mega-deal. The deal could be worth as much as $15 billion, Bloomberg reported, quoting an analyst.
U.S, manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed will be vying against Russia’s United Aircraft Corp., which makes MiG fighters, Sweden’s SAAB, France’s Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Lockheed Martin has welcomed India’s mega procurement initiative for fighter jets worth over $15 billion and said that it looked forward to responding to the initial tender.
India’s air force and navy require up to 400 single- and double-engine combat aircraft, according to the government. But the procurement process has seen some twists and turns. In 2007, New Dehli awarded an $11 billion contract to Dassault Aviation for 126 Rafale jets.
However, the government scrapped the deal in 2015 after clashes over price and quality guarantees. Instead, it bought 36 jets separately as a stopgap measure before reopening a new competition.