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Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, the Indian Air Force is planning to add 114 more fighter jets to its fleet. The special thing is that 96 of these will be made in India. The remaining 18 jets will be procured from foreign vendors who have been shortlisted. The Indian Air Force will procure these Multirole Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) under the ‘Buy Global and Make in India’ scheme.
World’s leading aircraft manufacturers including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab, MiG, Irkut Corporation and Dassault Aviation are likely to participate in the tender.
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First 18 will be bought, 96 will be constructed in the country
According to government sources recently, the Indian Air Force held a meeting with foreign vendors and asked them about how to execute the Make in India project. According to the plan, after importing the initial 18 aircraft, the next 36 fighter jets will be made indigenously. These fighter jets will be priced in both foreign and Indian currency.
The Indian partner will be responsible for the last 60 fighter jets. For which the government will pay only in Indian currency. The reason behind this is that this move will help the vendors involved in the project to procure more than 60% ‘Make-in-India’ material.
Rafael played together in Ladakh
The Indian Air Force has to rely heavily on these 114 fighter jets to maintain its superiority over neighboring rivals Pakistan and China. The 36 Rafale aircraft procured under emergency orders during the Ladakh crisis in 2020 helped a lot in maintaining an edge over the Chinese, but their numbers are not enough. So there will be a need to buy more of them.
Army has placed orders for 83 fighter jets
The army has already placed purchase orders for 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft, but these are still needed in large numbers as the existing MiG series aircraft are being phased out or their life is about to end. The project for the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft is progressing but it will take a long time before it becomes operational.
The Indian Air Force is looking for a cost-effective solution to meet its fighter jets requirement as it wants an aircraft that has low operational cost and high service. The IAF is satisfied with the operational capability of the Rafale fighter jet and wants similar service in its aircraft in future as well.