India Begins Hunt For 110 Fighter Jets in World’s Biggest Procurement

New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Defence on Friday issued an initial Request For Information (RFI) to global aviation companies to make fighter jets in India.

The RFI has set the ball rolling for a multi-billion dollar ‘Make in India’ project to produce 110 single or twin-engine fighter jets for the Indian Air Force with foreign collaboration.

This will be followed by request for proposal (RPF) or a formal tender. After that there will be evaluations, technical trials and commercial negotiations.

Th deal could be worth over USD 15 billion, making it one of the biggest such procurement in recent years globally.

This comes after the MoD cancelled their two-year old plan to produce 114 single-engine fighter jets with foreign collaboration at an estimated cost of Rs 1.15 lakh crore.

In 2007, tenders for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) were floated. After an intensive trial process, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale were selected in 2012.

Price negotiations followed, but the deal couldn’t be completed and was scrapped. In April 2015, the Government announced a move to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets in an off-the-shelf condition from French major Dassault.

IAF is grappling with a severe shortage of fighter planes, now down to 31 squadrons against its strength of 42 squadrons, required to deal with both China and Pakistan. Furthermore, some of squadrons are made up of aircraft which will be retired soon, thereby depleting the strength of the IAF further. A squadron is made up of 16-18 planes.

The RFI clearly says that fighter jets need to be manufactured in India. It will be under ‘Make in India’ to get global manufactures to have a production line in the country to be open to the possibility for future expansions. To speed up matters, the MoD will be looking at new additions made by global players since the MMRCA trials. The planes tested then were Lockheed Martin F-16IN, Boeing’s F/A-18IN, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen and MiG-35.

Indian airlines to add new jets in booming aviation market

Hyderabad: Indian airlines Jet Airways (India) Ltd, SpiceJet Ltd and AirAsia India are planning to add new jets to their fleets as they look to expand in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, the carriers said on Thursday, March 8 2018.

Domestic Indian passenger traffic increased by 17.9% in January from a year earlier, marking the 41st consecutive month of double-digit growth, the International Air Transport Association said in a monthly update released on Thursday.

Civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said as long as oil prices remained below $80 per barrel, he expected the Indian aviation market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% for the next 20 years or so.

“We are committed to ensure that new airports are built, better air space management services are provided, so that there is no congestion in the skies,” Choubey said at the Wings India airshow.

Indian airlines are scrambling to add more jets to meet demand for more domestic and international flights, making it one of the most targeted sales markets for jet manufacturers Airbus SE and Boeing Co.

“The growth of the domestic Indian (aviation) market is the highest in the world,” said Dinesh Keskar senior vice president of sales (Asia Pacific and India) at Boeing. “Every segment of traffic in and out of India is going to grow for the next 20 years.”

Boeing said in July it expected Indian airlines to order up to 2,100 new aircraft worth $290 billion over the next 20 years, calling it the highest-ever forecast for Asia’s third-largest economy.

Jet Airways hopes to close a deal to buy another 75 narrow-body jets by the end of March, its CEO Vinay Dube told reporters on the sidelines of the airshow. The airline last year finalized a deal to buy a separate 75 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and said it was in “serious talks” for 75 more.

Dube said it would finalize the deal with one of the plane manufacturers, alluding to Boeing or Airbus.

AirAsia India is looking to expand its fleet to 60 jets from the current 14 over the next five years, a spokeswoman said. The airline’s parent, AirAsia Bhd, said in January it was considering an IPO of the Indian arm.

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet said in July it had signed a provisional deal to buy 40 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets.