The Quest by the Indian Air Force has begun to get 114 fighter jets in order to boost its operational capabilities and strengthen its depleting fleet. Forces have informed that a formal Request for Information (RFI) will be issued to global manufacturers over the next two-three weeks so as to start procurement.

The fighter jets are to be manufactured in India under the Strategic Partnership Model of the Narendra Modi government.

The programme intends collaboration between foreign and Indian manufacturers for the production and exchange of technology to nurture the local defence industry in the country.

INDIGENISATION: 11 fighter jets out of 114, which is to be inducted to the Indian Air Force squadron will be flown from other countries and rest will be indigenously manufactured in Indian production lines.

“Of the 114 fighter jets, 16 will be flown from the country of origin, and the rest will be manufactured in Indian production lines set up here,” said an IAF official.

At the annual press conference on Thursday, Air Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa said that the required full strength of 42 squadrons will be settled by 2032.  Despite of the little chances of a two-front war with China and Pakistan, keeping the current geopolitical scenario in mind, Dhanoa said the intentions of the enemy are unpredictable and preparedness is must instead of underestimating the situation.

“We need the strength of 42 squadrons for a two-front scenario. But we have a plan B to deal with any satiation. We are prepared to fight in a short notice,” he said.

At present there are about 30-32 active fighter squadrons and each squadron has 18 to 20 air crafts. It is less than the sanctioned strength of 42 and also most does not have a full strength. Sources have informed that an extra five squadrons are expected to be part of the fleet by 2019, but also the ones that has been withdrawn again makes it a total of 33 that remains, which is relatively low.

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The IAF will be introducing 36 Dassault Rafale and Sukhoi jets which will join the fleet by 2019, another 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft are expected to be inducted by 2020, enhancing the fleet.

Saab, a Swedish Company is collaborating with Adani group with a plan for defence manufacturing under the strategic partnership model. With an idea to set up production hubs in India, it will have a focus on the design, development and production of single engine Grippen fighter jet.

Likewise, they will be having a completion from US Major Lockheed Martin who have a deal with Tata Group for single engine fighter jets and set up production line for the F-16 in India but for RFI to close the gap of desired requirement, the IAF  needs at least 200 such jets.

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