Today or tomorrow, whenever India will have a war with its hostile neighbor, it will be a two-front war. The nation will have to prepare to fight with both the neighbors simultaneously. In pursuant to that, the Indian Air Force required about 42-squadron strength of Combat Aircrafts but currently struggling with 18-squadron is a grave concern for the Indian securities. Despite the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, India still needs about 114 MRFA (multi-role fighter aircraft) to complete its strength.
Buy Global & Make in India program
A recently released report of ANI suggests that the Indian Air Force is planning to build 96 fighter jets in India for under 1.5 lakh crore for 114 MRFA. Quoting from the government sources, the report suggests that the 114 MRFA is planned to be acquired under the ‘Buy Global & Make in India’ program of the government.
IAF plans to build 96 fighter jets in India under Rs 1.5 lakh cr for 114 combat aircraft
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) June 12, 2022
The project will proceed in three phases. In the first phase, IAF will import 18 aircraft in fly-away condition. In the second phase, 36 aircraft would be manufactured in India and the payment will be made partially in foreign and partially in Indian currency. In the last stage, 60 aircraft would be made by Indian partners and the payment will be made in only Indian currency. In a way, 96 aircraft will be made in India and 18 aircraft will come in fly-away condition from foreign vendors.
Read More: Rafale fighter jets – Made in India
Indigenization is the ultimate aim
The government’s three-phased 114 MRFA acquiring plan is in consonance with the ultimate aim of indigenization and self-sufficiency in defense production. With the structured and partnership model, India is trying to bring global aircraft as well as other defense equipment manufacturing companies in India to make the long-term investment and partner with Indian companies to fulfill the domestic as well as global demand. Reports suggest that global manufacturers like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab, Mig, and Dassault Aviation are expected to take part in the floating tender.
In a bid to win the $20 billion contract to manufacture about 114 multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA), the American fighter jets making company Lockheed Martin is ready to collaborate with TATA for the indigenous development of its F-21 aircraft. Due to this, Tata-Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced System (TASL) & Lockheed Martin is the top contender in a race to develop it on indigenous manufacturing lines.
Since 2010, Tata Sikorsky Aerospace Ltd (TSAL) – a joint venture between Tata & Lockheed Martin has collaborated to make India, the manufacturing base for cabin aerostructures for the S-92 helicopter. Further, TLMAL is also aggressively pushing for C-130, the advanced tactical airlifter manufacturing & production completely in India.
Further, France’s Dassault is also ready to produce the Rafale jets in India in consonance with the Rafale Offset Deal. As per India’s offset policy, the offset clause of the Rafale purchase agreement provides that a foreign vendor has to offset 50% of the deal value in India in the form of investment, purchase, or technology transfer. If the Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defense will give the green signal to jointly develop the Rafale in India, it may be the Made in India Rafal.
American company Boeing is also planning to offer its new and upgraded F-15 Eagle II for the IAF’s plan to acquire 114 MRFA. India is already testing Its F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet multirole frontline naval fighter jets for the Indian Navy for its compatibility with Aircraft carriers. Boeing’s ‘For India – By India’ sustainment program is aligned with the country’s Buy Global & Make in India program to enhance the supply chain capabilities by partnering with local industry.
An honor to discuss #TeamBoeing’s commitment to India!
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) May 6, 2022
✅ Multi-role frontline naval fighter
✅ Fully compatible with @indiannavy carriers
— Boeing India (@Boeing_In) May 18, 2022
Collaboration of Lockheed Martin with Tata, Boeing with Mahindra Defense System (MDS), and Dassault with Reliance is an effort of global fighter jet manufacturing companies to win the $20 billion deal with India. Further, the government’s announcement of a policy to acquire the 114 MRFA in three phases is aligned with the Buy Global & Make in India program. If the project is successfully implemented on the ground without any delay, it will prove to be the new dawn in the Indian defense industry.
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