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To avoid a repeat of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) fiasco that had become free for all aircraft manufacturers to send their proposals, which led to a longer duration that was required to carry out scrutiny of proposals sent in 6000-7000 page documents, IAF plans to be more specific about it requirements that might cut out some aircraft manufactures so conclude a deal sooner.

MMRCA tender saw the participation of aircraft from 6.5 tons to 29 tons due to no specific criteria and the proposal submitted required extensive vetting and follow-up with aircraft manufacturers back and forth to get clarity on some matters that took another 2-3 years.

IAF already has decided to cut down on technical trial rounds of each aircraft that will clear the first stage and move to technical rounds, aircraft that have already been vetted will not go through full technical trial instead they will be limited to the trial of whichever additional system or components that were added after MMRCA Technical trials.

IAF is expected to issue an RFP for the purchase of 114 jets from foreign fighter jet manufacturers under the Make in India initiative later this year or in early 2024. Dassault Rafale with its F4 and F5 Standard offer remains a frontrunner and might cement its position if it bags an order for 26 Rafale M from the Indian Navy.

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