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SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

All Interested Companies who are keen to bid on India’s recently issued Request for Information for the supply of 110 units of fighter jets have been told by IAF not only to provide Transfer of Technology (TOT) for this jets to be manufactured in India but also give them access to their technology which can be used by India to produce 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet .

Indian Air Force for the first time has directly linked supply of 110 units of a fighter jet with India’s AMCA fighter jet, which Aerospace Giants see as an enhanced business opportunity which can further consolidate their presence in India due to which many have agreed to IAF’s proposal.

Boeing already has tied up with HAL to produce F-18E/F Super Hornets just off the Chennai in new upcoming Defence corridor if they do win the orders from IAF. Boeing also has offered to use the same facility to manufacture India’s AMCA jointly with HAL once the orders of F-18E/F Super Hornet are full filled.

Boeing which lost out to Lockheed Martin in Joint Strike fighter contract in the United States over a decade ago is only company which has experience in manufacturing of 5th generation fighter jets and is also keen on keeping its fighter jet business open after United States Navy started replacing F-18s with F-35 fighter jets.

Dassault Aviation which already has bagged orders for 36 Rafale aircraft also has offered deep Technology Transfer for local production and is also keen to collaborate on the development of the AMCA.

French Companies already have offered to develop a new engine to power AMCA with India and have also offered Radars, and other sensor packages for AMCA and LCA-Tejas MK1A and MK2.

Swedish Saab also as offered its Gripen-E to India and is also keen to collaborate with India to develop AMCA. Saab which is working on Flygsystem 2020, which is an ongoing project by the Swedish Air Force to develop a fifth-generation jet fighter stealth aircraft by 2020 is working out details how both programs can benefit each other if it is awarded a contract for 110 units.

Lockheed Martin which has offered India it’s F-16 Dash 5 Configuration aircraft is keen on making India Service hub for all the F-16 fleet operator and also to develop new aircraft for export. Lockheed Martin which is the developer of worlds first 5th generation aircraft F-22 and later followed up with F-35 seems to be the strongest candidate on paper but the company has not made any direct offer to collaborate on the development of AMCA and they are very much keen to sell their F-35s to India in future.

Russian offer of Mig-35 looks weak but with strong economic sanctions and week economy, we will have to wait to see if there will be game changer offer coming from Russian to work on India’s AMCA. India is yet to agree to procure FGFA Stealth fighter aircraft from Russia and in past Russians have been very keen on linking both the project together.

Eurofighter consortium is the most silent observers in IAF’s RFI till now and has not disclosed if they are interested in offering their Eurofighter Typhoon to India. Eurofighter Typhoon along with Dassault Rafale was only other aircraft which cleared all the technical parameters of the then MMRCA Tender but lost out due to pricing.

By linking India’s AMCA program with 110 units of the fighter, IAF plans to buy from International Vendor. IAF is ensuring that there is a fail-safe mechanism in place for India’s biggest aerospace project to avoid delays it had to face due to lack of technological partner and also due to delays in technology realization for the LCA-Tejas program.

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