IAF issues global RFI for production of 110 fighter jets in India

The defence ministry is expected to issue one of the largest global tenders, worth around $15 billion (Rs90,000 crore), for manufacture of fighter jets in India, under the `Make In India’ policy of the government.

The Indian Air Force on Friday issued a Request for Information (RFI) to major global manufacturers of fighter jets to produce around 110 fighter jets in the country, according to press reports.
The contract mandates that 85 per cent of the planes must be built in India as part of Narendra Modi government`s drive to build a domestic defence industrial base.
As per the terms of the contract, foreign manufacturers will have to collaborate with an Indian partner to set up a production line for the fighter jets.
As per the RFI issued by the Indian Air Force for the fighter planes, "85 per cent will have to be made in India by a strategic partner/Indian production agency".
Also, under the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) induction programme, IAF will now allow makers of both single engine and twin-engine combat jets to participate in the tender.
A number of fighter jets, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed`s F-16, Saab's Gripen and Russian aircraft MiG-35 are potential contenders under the new requirements.
It is not known whether Dassault Aviation, which was earlier expected to corner the contract, will bid again.
Earlier, the defence ministry had sought expressions of interest from single-engine manufacturers which effectively restricted the contest to Lockheed`s F-16 and Saab`s Gripen fighter jets.
The IAF is in urgent need of new fighter jets as its operational strength has depleted with just 31 squadrons, as against the 42 it needs to counter the combined threat from Pakistan and China.