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Top global firms to vie for multi-bn dollar Indian Navy, IAF deals in 2019

But with the country due to hold a general election by next May, the expectation is both processes could take time

Reuters  |  Singapore 

Fighter jets
Photo: Reuters

and Saab AB, which are among those vying for a contract to supply 57 fighter jets for the Indian Navy, expect it may take until 2019 for the tender process to enter the next phase, according to company executives.

The naval contract, as well as a less-advanced plan to buy 100 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, represent multi-billion dollar opportunities for manufacturers and for Indian Narendra Modi's "Make in India" drive to build a domestic production base.

But with the country due to hold a general election by next May, the expectation is both processes could take time.

Boeing is proposing its F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab has touted its Gripen M concept in responses to a request for information (RFI) on the naval contract but they are waiting for a more formal request for proposal (RFP) to be issued.

Boeing Vice President Global Sales Defence, Space & Security said the and were evaluating the answers to the RFI to see if there were any changes to requirements or expectations before releasing the RFP.

"We see that evolving over the next year or so, then driving to a competition," he told Reuters at the Singapore Airshow.

An spokesman said work was in progress and he expected an RFP would be issued in the months ahead detailing specific requirements.

has expressed interest in the navy tender with its twin-engine fighter and has reportedly proposed the buy more The firms did not respond immediately to a request for comment.


The separate air force contract, expected to be for 100 single-engine fighters, has attracted Saab's Gripen E and with its F-16, but the contest has yet to reach the RFI stage.

"Hopefully we get an RFI this year," Saab Head of Asia Pacific said. "More than likely, 2019.

But it really is dependent on the customer and what they do with the election there as well."

Saab has partnered with Adani to build Gripens in India if it wins either or both of the contests, while Lockheed has selected as its local production partner for the

Lockheed Martin International said his company was hopeful an RFI on the air force contract would be released "soon" but it remained up to the government.

An spokesman declined to comment on when the RFI would be issued.

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 21:41 IST