SOURCE: HIMANSU SWAIN / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Some media reports that INDIA having two options for fighter plane acquisition at current scenario. Either they must Buy Single engine or Twin-engine birds. But IAF is in hurry for both Twin & Single engine fighters in her squadrons. Currently INDIA has around 250 Mig-21MF & Bison including 100 of MIG-27ML, estimated a strength of 18 obsolete squadrons.
Meanwhile, there is also shortage of Medium weight fighter planes in IAF’s inventory. So, these loopholes making IAF combat readiness & power projection in Trouble. With these 3rd gen fighters, IAF can’t fight two front war with her rivals.
Filling the Gap means IAF needs order both single & Twin-engine fighter planes at any cost as we have already wasted time of over 10 years (UPA regime) by not addressing IAF concerns to buy MMRCA. That’s why, IAF is desperate to fill its strength at any clause. It’s clear that IAF is preparing for an order of 114 single engine fighters with invoking a battle between Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN & Saab Gripen-E which will cost nearly $12-15 Billion. But on other hand there is a desperate need of another 80 Twin engine fighters. The 2nd fight is expected in between Boeing F-18 & Dassault Rafale. As Rafale has made its way clear for further order, it would be impossible for Boeing to become lowest bidder.
French has already shown interest to build Rafale under Make in India if big order is given. While Order of 36 additional Rafale is on paper, IAF won’t hesitate to convince the Gov to field nearly 100 Rafale in her hangers. So IAF needs to play an optimistic card with MODI Gov showing FGFA failure, Tejas Delay, SUPER SUKHOI upgradation which would ground around 200 SU-30MKI in a periodic manner.
The upcoming days for Air Force is going to be toughest as Three major tenders are to be on table (Single engine & Twin-engine fighter accounting over $25 billion & Super-Sukhoi Upgradation of $8 Billion, concluding a sum of $30+ billion). Currently India needs to order at least 200 fighters which would give some bits of Relaxation to IAF. So, let’s see, what happens….