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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

Indian Air force might be soon facing tuff competition from homegrown options as its plans to procure 114 jets under Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) program has failed to move to the second stage which is a very important Request for proposal (RFP) stage sent to interested vendors to assess bids and technical requirements offered, including ToT.

While IAF is adamant that it requires 114 jets under MFRA, the slow process of the deal will mean that by the time RFP is narrowed down and the contract is concluded assuming that it happens in fast track mode, India might have started developmental trials of 2 4.5 gen and 1 5th fighter in next 5-6 years.

idrw.org has been told by senior officials from Defence PSUs that the need for imported fighter jets is long gone as local in-house design and development of fighter jets is catching up and there is nothing the same can’t be ordered locally to IAF to meet its requirements of 114 jets.

IAF has agreed to procure 6 squadrons of LCA MkII and Seven squadrons of AMCA from 2028 onwards when they enter production. idrw.org has been told that HAL is ready to bump up the annual production rate to 30 aircraft if IAF agreed to procure more between these two types instead of going for the MRFA program.

ADA that is working on the development of the 26-ton fighter jet that can be operated from the aircraft carrier, and has offered a 24.5-tons variant of the jet that can be customized as per user requirements of the Indian air force that will be similar to what IAF has been seeking from the MRFA program.

India itself is working on medium-class fighter jets from 17.5-tons single engine LCA MkII to 5th gen 25-ton AMCA to 26-ton Twin engine 4.5Gen fighter jet for the Navy. Any of these three fighter jets can fill in the role that 114 jets under MRFA could have fulfilled and the need for a foreign jet that won’t be rolled out by 2028-29 simply doesn’t make sense said official to idrw.org.

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