IAF planning ‘swift trials’ in Rs 1.5 lakh crore 114 fighter jet deal


New Delhi, Dec 20: In the over Rs 1.5 lakh crore deal for manufacturing 114 multirole fighter aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to compress the time taken for carrying out trials of all the participants to less than a year to ensure that the force gets its new combat aircraft at a faster rate.

Last time, when the IAF carried out trials of multiple fighter aircraft for the scrapped deal of 126 multirole fighter aircraft, the service had taken 18 months to complete the process in the contract which lingered on for several years before getting cancelled due to complications.

“This time, the IAF is planning to hold trials of all the competitors who participate in the tender in less than a year so that time is saved. The fact that most of the systems and avionics of the participating firms have been tested will also help in shortening the time taken from trials,” defence sources told ANI.

All the major fighter aircraft manufacturers including Sukhoi and MiG from Russia, Lockheed Martin and Boeing from the United States of America, Eurofighter consortium from Europe and Saab group from Sweden have responded to the Request for Proposal for the deal expected to be the biggest ever in terms of quantity of aircraft and the amount of money to be spent on it.

The Indian Air Force is expected to seek approval of the Defence Acquisition Council for the deal in the next few months for over Rs 1.5 lakh crore under the strategic partnership policy as part of which Indian firms will have to tie up with foreign partners to build the aircraft in India.

The deal is being considered as an important step in fulfilling the shortage of squadrons in the IAF which is looking for fighters to replace the MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27 fighter planes some of which have already been phased out while others are on their way out of service in the next few years.

The Russian-origin Sukho-30MKI with over 12 squadrons in service will be the mainstay of the force while the two squadrons of the Rafale fighters would be the most potent in terms of capability in the next decade for the force which is looking to indigenous routes for the fifth-generation fighter planes. (ANI)