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SOURCE: Satyajeet Kumar/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

On April 6th earlier this year, IAF published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking proposals from interested vendors for supply of 110 fighter jets in a deal worth $15 billion which will be manufactured locally under the Modi government’s flagship Make in India scheme.

According to the Request for Information issued global manufacturers have to respond by July 6, with their offers along with other information like Transfer of technology on offer along with product information of the aircraft on the offer.

With the deadline fast approaching soon, it is likely that major aircraft makers, like Saab, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Eurofighter Consortium, Mig corporation and Dassault Aviation will be back with their offers to have a crack at one of the biggest combat aircraft defense deals in recent years.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have started a Joint venture company called as Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) to manufacture locally F-16-V (Block-70) in India if their proposal gets selected.

Lockheed Martin has proposed to make TLMAL one point supply chain for spares and support of all F-16s operators worldwide and all new orders for F-16 will be manufactured and supplied from TLMAL plant in India and it will also be tasked to carry out all future upgrades to existing operator generating Billions of dollars of Business for TLMAL and India.

Boeing

Boeing has partnered with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Mahindra Defense Systems to manufacture F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in India both for Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. Boeing interestingly also has participated in ADA issued tender asking proposals from vendors to manufacture Technology Demonstrator for AMCA Fighter jets.

Boeing has liked F/A-18 program to India’s AMCA Fighter jets program and has offered to manufacture this jet for India at the same plant where F/A-18 will be manufactured if their proposal is accepted by India.

Dassault Aviation

French aerospace major will be back with Rafale multirole fighter jet and has tied up with Reliance Industries and this joint venture has been named as Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL ) manufacturing which is coming up in the Mihan SEZ adjoining Nagpur International Airport.

The DRAL facility at present will manufacture several components of the offset obligation connected to the purchase of 36 Rafale Fighters from France, signed between the two Governments in September 2016. Dassault and Reliance are confident that previous order will allow them to clinch the deal and it will eventually also manufacture 110 Dassault Rafale Fighters for Indian Air Force and is also eyeing orders from Indian Navy.

Mig corporation

Russian Aircraft Corporation ‘MiG’ will be offering its latest MiG-35 warplanes and have offered extensive transfer of technology and have promised it will come at a competitive price. Mig corporation is luring India with cost-effectiveness factor to clinch a deal for both Indian Air Force and Indian Navy tender but has not clearly defined who will be their local partners in India but state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) might be their choice due to HAL’s extensive MiG-29 (UPG) modernization program in India and also their previous collaboration on licence manufacturing of MiG -21 and MiG -27 aircraft.

Saab

Swedish defense giant Saab has entered into a joint venture with Adani Group in India to make the Gripen E fighters under the “Make in India” programme. Gripen-E is an enhanced version of the Gripen C/D multi-role aircraft.

Saab has offered 100% ToT of the Gripen-E to India even when key technologies including the propulsion system and the ASEA radar on offer are not developed by Saab.

Eurofighter Consortium

European military consortium EADS is again likely to offer its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to India. Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon were the only two defense majors left in the race for 126 plane-deal after years of tests on technical and other aspects before Rafale was declared L1 (lowest bidder).

EADS off late has been rather quiet on all fronts leading to speculations in India if they will abstain themselves from India’s latest Request for Information for 110 fighter aircraft thus making it an only 5-way contest.

Key highlights of Request for Information (RFI)

  • IAF is looking to procure 82-82 single-seat fighter jets and 27-28 twin-seaters.
  • 15% (16-17) of the aircraft will be bought in a flyaway state, and the rest ( 83-84 )will have to be made locally.
  • July 6 is the deadline to respond
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