Air Force to call bids for 114 jets worth ₹1,50,000 crore--to be Made in India

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has initiated work on two of its ambitious ‘Make in India’ projects to acquire 114 fighter jets and the C-295 transport aircraft.
  • The project for 114 fighter jets is presently the biggest deal around the world, and includes French, US, Rusian and the European fighter Eurofighter Typhoon.
  • The project is worth ₹1,50,000 crore and the C-295 transport aircraft is worth ₹11,929 crore.
The Indian Air Force has initiated the process of its two ambitious Make in India projects for 114 fighter jets and 56 medium transport transport aircraft, worth about ₹1,50,000 crore.

The authorities are working on a project to manufacture 114 fighter jets, as the request for proposal (RFP)---which invites interested bidders---might be issued in late 2019 or early 2020, reported the Time of India.

A large number of international players are known to be interested to take part in indegenous production of these fighter jets. One of them known to be in the race is Rafale, along with F/A-18 and F-16 from the US, Mig 35 and Sukhoi-35 from Russia, Gripen-E from Sweden, and the Eurofighter typhoon.

Depleting Numbers

The proposal for 114 fighter jets is presently world’s biggest deal in aviation industry. “The 114-fighter project is crucial because the 36 Rafales and the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft will not make up for the fast depleting numbers. There is an urgent need to plan for the future,” a source told TOI.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) severely lacks fighter squadrons. Only 30 of the 42 available squadrons are in working condition.

However, these numbers will be reinforced as Rafale jets from France will be delivered in May 2020. The deal worth ₹56,000 crore was finalised in 2016. The induction team of the IAF which includes 10 pilots, 10 flight engineers and 40 technicians are currently undergoing training in France.

Tata-Airbus venture

The Air Force is already working on medium transport aircraft which will be manufactured by the TATA-Airbus consortium. This production is expected to kickstart in 2019-20.

The TATA-Airbus joint venture for 56 twin turboprop tactical C-295 is in its final stages. “The extensive trials and CNC (contract negotiations committee) are over now. DAC will take up the project to approve certain deviations before sending it to the cabinet committee on security for the final nod,” as per sources.

The C-295 planes will replace the Avro Aircraft, which was first inducted in 1960’s. Initially valued at ₹11,929 crore, it was meant for the Indian private sector to enter aerospace manufacturing. The aircraft will be delivered in two phases. Airbus will supply the first 10 aircraft and the remaining 40 will be manufactured by TATA in India, over the next eight years.


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