According to reports, the Indian Air Force is planning to acquire 114 fighter jets under the Atmanir-filled India scheme by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
Out of which 96 will be made in India, and the remaining 18 will be imported from foreign vendors.
The Indian Air Force is learnt to have plans to acquire 114 Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) under the ‘Buy Global and Make in India’ scheme, which would allow Indian companies to collaborate with foreign vendors.
The Indian Defense Ministry’s documents show that recently, Indian Air Force officials held meetings with foreign vendors and they were consulted on how to promote the ‘Make in India’ project.
Furthermore, Indian Defense Ministry documents also revealed that after importing the initial 18 aircraft under the project, the next 36 aircraft will be manufactured within the country and payments will be made in foreign currency as well as in Indian currency.
Global aircraft manufacturing companies including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab, MIG, Arkit Corporation and Dassault Aviation are likely to add tenders to India. Indian Defense officials say that these 114 fighter jets have to rely heavily on India’s two rivals, Pakistan and China, to maintain their lead.
The 36 Rafale aircraft purchased under emergency orders helped immensely in maintaining the lead over the Chinese during the Ladakh crisis that began in 2020. However, this number is not sufficient and more such purchases will be required to keep the numbers in India’s favor.
It is also learnt that the Indian Air Force has already ordered 83 of LCA Mk 1A aircraft but still needs a large quantity of capable aircraft as a large number of MiG series aircraft have either phased out or are on their last breaths.
Perhaps that is why India’s fifth generation advance medium combat aircraft project is moving at a satisfactory pace, but it will take a long time to get involved in operational missions.