Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari confirmed that the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs) are still getting being framed for the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) Tender process and will be completed sometime in 2022. ASQRs stage is where IAF decides what will be essential parameters that it sought from the aircraft it desires. The ASQRs are based on inputs obtained through a request for information (RFI) to ensure a multi-vendor situation.

Later the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will accord the acceptance of necessity (AON) then starts the process to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to interested vendors. ASQRs for MRFA will now include e essential parameters for 5th and 6th Gen technologies that were missing in the previous Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition that got canceled.

Just to jog back memories of the readers in MMRCA tender, RFI was issued in 2001 and RFP in 2008. In April 2019, the IAF issued an RFI (Request for Information), or initial tender, to acquire 114 jets under MRFA competition, and its any bodies guess when RFP will be issued and going by the previous pace of the tendering process it is likely that the deal might be concluded in next 4-5 years and the first jet might start arriving from 2030 onwards assuming that negotiations are not stalled all over again due to pricing or Transfer of Technology like last time.

An initial estimate of $18 Billion is likely will now balloon towards $25 billion as IAF is likely to press for 5th and 6th Gen technologies in the 4.5gen jets that it plans to acquire but the whole process might go for a toss if US and Russia instead decide to offer 5th Generation fighter jet-like F-35A and Su-75 to India under MRFA that will put other vendors including Dassault Rafale in a slightly difficult position.

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Article by SATYAJEET KUMAR ,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or