India is looking to acquire hundreds of fighter jets, replacing the older fighter jets. Condition, however, is that the jets will be produced in its country. The deal can be worth up to $15B.
The country had initially planned to replace 200-300 aging MiG jets by the HAL Tejas, but the single-crew jet has been coping with years of delays and seems to be unable to replace the MiG aircraft at sufficient rate.
Lockheed Martin is looking to replace its entire F-16 production to India, so this would be a candidate to strenghten the Indian Air Force fleet. Also Saab wants to open up a production facility for the JAS39 Gripen in India.
The tender has been target of criticism as it is highly unspecific and broad asking for a ‘fourth generation fighter jet’ without any performance requirements.
India looking to strengthen fleet and industry
The production facilities should not only fill up the gap between new jet fighters introduction and retirement of older jets, but India wants to strengthen its industry as well. In the long term, lessons learned from the production facilities in India can be benficiary to the HAL Tejas fighter program.
The IAF fleet is highly under developed and lacks operational efficiency. With the attraction of production facilities to the country it aims to improve efficiency in more than one way.