Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari after taking charge as the new chief of the Indian Air Force has set the balling rolling on procurement of 114 fighter jets under Multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) Tender after his office issued an internal command to complete evaluation of the RFI (request for information) so that RFP (request for proposal) for the same can be issued by mid or late 2022. has been told that, unlike the previous chief who favored possible procurement of another batch of 36 Rafale jets by India from France, the new chief is keen to see RFP is issued under this term to set the ball rolling on a long-delayed deal for 114 new jets.

IAF had issued RFI (request for information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 18 billion in April 2019 and RFI was still at the evaluation stage after receiving offers from Lockheed’s F-21, Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab’s Gripen. Late entries were Boeing F-15EX and Sukhoi Bureau Su-35.

MRFA project will be executed under the provisions of the DAP 2020, the selected OEM will have to comply with requirements of Transfer of technology and Make in India that would aid in our indigenous fighter aircraft development plan. The new IAF Chief wants to add clauses that could impose financial penalties so has to prevent selected OEM from backtracking once the company has been selected as the L1. has been told that any backtracking on ToT of the aircraft or the price might also see L2 being declared winner.

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