The Indian Air Force is now looking to focus on the multirole fighter aircraft project under which it is planning to acquire 114 combat aircraft expected to cost over ₹1.3 lakh crore. The Air Force had been undertaking one fighter aircraft project at a time and now its 83 LCA Mark 1A fighters have been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ₹50,000 crore deal is set to be signed in Bengaluru during Aero India.
The IAF has already issued the Request for Information for the tender and would be soon moving a proposal for getting the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) before the Defence Ministry for the multi-billion dollar project which would enable it to acquire 4.5 plus generation aircraft in large numbers to match the capabilities of the omni role Rafale fighters 36 of which have started getting inducted from last year. The Request for Information (RFI) has been responded to by several global players including fighter jet manufacturers from the US, France, Russia and Sweden.
While the Americans are offering from the F-15 Strike Eagle, F-18 Super Hornet and an F-16 variant by the name of F-21, the Russians are likely to offer the MiG-35 and a Sukhoi fighter. Sweden’s Saab is looking to pitch in with its Gripen fighter aircraft which it says is far more advanced than the one which was offered in 2007 to the Indian Air Force. France would be participating in the tender with the Rafale fighter jets.