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Procurement process for 110 fighter jets won't be re-run of scrapped MMRCA deal: Govt

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvidanthai 

Days after it began the process for a multi-billion dollar deal to procure 110 fighter planes, today assured global majors that the exercise will not meet the same fate of an failed initiative earlier to buy 126 jets.

said there should not be any apprehension about the government's sincerity in fructifying the fresh process to procure a fleet of 110 fighter jets for the which could be one of the biggest such procurements in recent years globally.

There should not be any such apprehensions. It will not be a re-run (of the process to procure 126 jets), he told a press conference on the sidelines of the Defence Expo here on the outskirts of Chennai.

He was asked about apprehension in certain quarters on whether the government will be able to conclude the procurement or not.

last week had kick-started the process to procure around 110 fighter jets by issuing an RFI (Request for Information) or initial tender for the deal.

It is the first mega procurement initiative for fighter jets after the government scrapped the process to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat (MMRCA) for the IAF around five years ago.

Leading military producers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab, and Russian Corporation are among the competitors which are likely to vie for the mega deal.

An said the deal could be worth over USD 15 billion.

Mitra said the procurement will be in sync with the government's strategic partnership model. Under the new policy, the government plans to rope in select private firms to build military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in in partnership with foreign entities.

Following scrapping of the MMRCA deal, the NDA government, in September 2016, signed an Euro 7.87 billion (approx Rs 59,000 crore) deal with the for purchase of 36 Rafale twin-engine fighter jets.

According to the RFI, three-quarters of the total jets will be single seat aircraft while the rest will be twin-seat.

Aircraft manufacturers interested in the deal will have to send their proposals by July 6.

The IAF has been pressing for expediting the process to acquire the aircraft citing declining strength of its fighter squadron as some of the ageing jets are being phased out. Currently, IAF has 31 fighter squadrons as against authorised strength of 42 squadrons.

The had floated a tender in 2007 for purchase of 126 MMRCA for the and, post negotiations, two of them--Rafale and -- remained in the reckoning. However, the deal could not be finalised by the UPA regime.

Last September, Swedish and Indian conglomerate group had announced collaboration, mainly eyeing the contract for the fighter jet deal. US has joined hands with India's to build the planes in India.

All global defence firms are participating in the Defence Expo, which began today.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 15:50 IST