The project to manufacture 114 single-engine fighters for the Indian Air Force has been canceled by the Indian Government. The proposal has been scrapped by the Government and asked IAF to propose a new proposal that will involve single and double engine as well.
According to the report of a source, “The original plan placed an unnecessary restriction on only single-engine fighters, which limited the competition to just two jets (American F-16 and Swedish Gripen-E). The aim is to increase the contenders and avoid needless allegations later.”
The need of aircraft in IAF is quite crucial at this point in time and for future as its squadron strength is down to 31 from an authorized strength of 42. However, the Rafale aircraft deal is going to add 36 aircraft to the fighter squadron of IAF. Also, IAF needs the replacement of its old aircraft which will be retired soon.
Mig-21s and Mig-27s fall in the old aircraft list which is going to be retired and these aircraft are slated to be retired by 2022. The delay in induction of indigenous fighter LCA Tejas over the years has been adding the emergency in an urgent need.
The decision asking to make a new proposal for single engine and the double engine was taken after Manohar Parrikar, the former defence minister advised the Indian Air Force for having single-engine production citing operational necessities, reveals the report of the source.