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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is taking a strategic approach to streamlining the Medium Range Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender process as it seeks to expedite the acquisition of 114 fighter jets under the “Made in India” initiative with a 100 per cent Transfer of Technology (ToT) clause. The IAF is keen to minimize the time required for issuing the Request for Proposal (RFP), evaluating proposals, and moving on to the technical evaluation phase.

One significant change in the approach is to make the RFP more specific and concise, reducing the extensive documentation that can sometimes run into thousands of pages. By providing clearer and more focused requirements, the IAF aims to expedite the evaluation process.

Another notable modification is the decision to limit the testing phase to only those fighter jets that were not part of the previous Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) tender. In the MRCA tender, various aircraft were thoroughly evaluated across different parameters. This time around, the IAF plans to assess only new entrants or specific upgrades to previously evaluated aircraft.

This streamlined approach is a direct result of the lessons learned from the previous MRCA tender, which involved an exhaustive evaluation of all the jets on offer. The IAF’s goal is to significantly reduce the time spent in the evaluation phase and swiftly identify the two best-suited aircraft that meet its requirements.

Once these two aircraft are selected, the IAF intends to initiate price negotiations within the next three to four years. This process will help expedite the procurement timeline, with the expectation that the first batch of 114 fighter jets will be delivered approximately three years after the firm order is placed.

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