IAF is­sues new RFI for fight­ers

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia -

On 6 April 2018, the In­dian Air Force for­mally is­sued a ‘Re­quest for In­for­ma­tion’ con­cern­ing pro­cure­ment of 110 air­craft of which 75% would be sin­gle-seaters and the bal­ance twin-seaters, “but hav­ing full op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity.” The air­craft would be truly mul­ti­role, in­clud­ing for air su­pe­ri­or­ity, air de­fence, air to sur­face op­er­a­tions, re­con­nais­sance, mar­itime, EW mis­sions, ca­pa­ble of buddy re­fu­elling. In the given nar­ra­tive, OEMs are re­quired to re­spond by 6 July 2018, fol­low­ing which will be is­sued a for­mal re­quest for pro­posal to those short­listed, the ac­qui­si­tion process to be car­ried out un­der the pro­vi­sions of DPP 2016.

The 73- page doc­u­ment de­tails tech­ni­cal pa­ram­e­ters and op­er­a­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics, giv­ing a typ­i­cal mis­sion pro­file in­clud­ing that in the strike role with 2 PGMs + Des­ig­na­tor Pod + 2 BVRs + 2 A4Ms + Ex­ter­nal fuel. The air­borne multi-mode radar should be AESA, and there are a slew of EW sys­tems + SP jam­mers in­cluded. Im­por­tantly, there is a sec­tion on trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy for in­dige­nous man­u­fac­ture of the air­craft in In­dia, be­ing state-of-theart “to en­sure rapid build-up of in­dige­nous de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion and main­te­nance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the air­craft, its sub­sys­tems and sup­port equip­ment.”

As there are no re­stric­tions on size or weight or num­ber of en­gines in the RFI, ob­servers be­lieve that there could well be an in­crease in num­ber of OEMs re­spond­ing, per­haps beyond the orig­i­nal six that took part in the MMRCA ten­der is­sued in 2007 which re­sulted in se­lec­tion of the Das­sault Rafale. ( See sev­eral com­men­taries on the sub­ject in this Is­sue).

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