Modi govt offers to buy 200 foreign combat aircrafts: 7 things you should know

The deal could be well worth anything between USD 13-15 billion, say experts, potentially making it one of India's biggest military aircraft deals.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:October 29, 2016 6:00 pm
India fighter planes, India fighter jets, Rafale, India Rafale deal, Lockheed Martin, India foreign planes, Narendra Modi, Modi govt, Modi govt jets Rafale fighter jets. (File)

In a bid to upgrade military hardware and arrest a fall in operational strength, the Narendra Modi government is offering to buy hundreds of fighter aircrafts from foreign manufacturers. But as long as the jets are made in India and with a local partner, according to air force officials. The air force says a deal for 200 single-engine planes produced in India – could eventually rise to 300 – as India fully phases out ageing Soviet-era aircrafts. The deal could be well worth anything between USD 13-15 billion, say experts, potentially making it one of India’s biggest military aircraft deals.

Here is what you need to know:

1. After a deal to buy high-end Rafale planes from France’s Dassault was scaled back to just 36 jets last month, the Indian Air Force is desperately trying to speed up other acquisitions and arrest a fall in operational strength, now a third less than required to face both China and Pakistan.

ALSO READ: PM Narendra Modi seeks ‘shoot to kill’ hardware as part of military modernisation

2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration wants any further military planes to be built in India with an Indian partner to kickstart a domestic aircraft industry, and end an expensive addiction to imports. Lockheed Martin said it is interested in setting up a production line for its F-16 plane in India for not just the Indian military, but also for export.

3. India’s defence ministry has written to several companies asking if they would be willing to set up an assembly line for single-engine fighter planes in India and the amount of technology transfer that would happen, another government source said.

4. India’s military’s problems were compounded when it’s three-decade effort to build a single-engine fighter of its own which was meant to be the backbone of the air force. Only two of those Light Combat Aircraft, called Tejas, have been delivered to the air force which has ordered 140 of them.

5.  The deal assumes more strategic importance as in March this year the vice chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa told parliament’s defence committee that it didn’t have the operational strength to fight a two front war against China and Pakistan.

6. Lockheed Martin said it had responded to the defence ministry’s letter with an offer to transfer the entire production of its F-16 fighter to India. “Exclusive F-16 production in India would make India home to the world’s only F-16 production facility, a leading exporter of advanced fighter aircraft, and offer Indian industry the opportunity to become an integral part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft supply chain,” Abhay Paranjape, National Executive for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Business Development in India said in an email.

7. India’s defence ministry has written to several companies asking if they would be willing to set up an assembly line for single-engine fighter planes in India and the amount of technology transfer that would happen, another government source said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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  1. K
    Krishna Bhagawan
    Oct 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm
    why not buy/develop 1000 drones for that money. safe and effective.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;A few of then can develop malfuction over PoK
    Reply
    1. M
      MyTake
      Oct 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm
      UPA avatar is writing to God of thievery:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What a bad day for UPA "patriots" of Hindia! Oh God how much money could easily be made out of all these without "proletariat" having any clue! Now Modi is destroying all their future hopes too! How any future UPA if ever comes to power can maintain the tempo!! What would be able to "silence" the people who are increasingly getting high spirited with Modi-mania!
      Reply
      1. A
        Avinash
        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:04 pm
        Any plan to design our own?
        Reply
        1. A
          Avinash
          Oct 29, 2016 at 3:05 pm
          Don't lower your guard modiot...
          Reply
          1. B
            bng
            Oct 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm
            This is a good start.
            Reply
            1. K
              Krishna Iyer
              Oct 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm
              from what we hear from defense sources, F-16 as a fighting platform, is to be phased out soon. all or whatever upgrades to this will not change its nomenclature from 3rd gen aircraft. in effect, LM is trying to fobb off ancient tech to india. if they offer to build a 5th gen platform, it makes sense. NaMo admn should be wary of this hand-me-downs. india is paying real dollars and it has a right to demand the best.
              Reply
              1. F
                freethinker
                Oct 29, 2016 at 6:12 pm
                Can you imagine how long it will take? The Government of India should build a national graveyard for all its defence projects. Some babu or some politician will have a special wish which will send the w project down the drain. They have done it to Maruts, and now to Rafales and artillery guns etc etc. One can hope and pray and then go back to sleep.
                Reply
                1. V
                  Venkataraman Jagadesan
                  Oct 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm
                  Well our Def Forces were neglected by Mr Moun andsonamma and the UPA ministers. Otherwise there was no need for the present Govt:to raise alarm.Now it will be better to accept the Lockheed Martin of USA since they are prepared for our tems and conditions.The F-16is the back bone ofUSA Air Force and is aso relisble.If needed they may transfer few Squadrans of F-16 which are laying in their present stock at their Ordnance Depots.Jai HInd.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kabir
                    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:29 pm
                    made in india by government owned manufacturing companies or multiple indian owned manufacturing companies or just adani/ambani run paper tiger companies without any real manufacturing experience and skills?
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Murthy
                      Oct 30, 2016 at 12:33 am
                      We have known it for long - Nehruvian Public Sector Units have failed - not merely in the defence sector. Example, Heavy Electricals and Heavy structures are imported from China now, because the Indian PSUs supposed to be manufacturing them in India, well before China started to do that, FAILED. White Elephants ate money but produced little. So, I am not surprised that many of IE's regular readers like Sunil, Venkat Jagdish and 'My Take' are blaming the Congress governments of the past for the state of our military hardware shortages.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        mathimathi
                        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm
                        Even though an all most three years gone, why feku govt can't do an "Make in India" Pushpaka fighter jets.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Sunil
                          Oct 29, 2016 at 9:49 pm
                          All of you who voted for and continue to vote for Congress and any other anti-national parties are responsible for this mess. Also by tax avoidance you all are single handedly responsible for the lack of progress in the country. Having democracy in a country like India is like giving fireworks to a child hoping the house does not burn down. The most ic people in the world are Indians, especially Hindus. They can never learn.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Lastly we can not go to war with stan and we are having to just fire on border posts. Because of two reasons, one lack of fire powers and the other a huge traitor base of people in India. Having people to people contact and allowing stani's into the country has meant that we have a large number of sleeper cells in India. A stupid idea of Vajpayee that should have been stopped.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Sunil
                            Oct 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm
                            Drones have a different function to fighter planes.
                            Reply
                            1. P
                              pravnedra patel
                              Oct 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm
                              5th gen long way to go, america f-35 is just luxury flying plane, India and Russia developing 5th gen. fighter still sort out many glitch in technology, probably the world can see first prototype in 2020 or beyond. f-16 is 4th gen but Sweden's Gripen is far more better then f-16 and rafale. the world geopolitics changing very fast everybody looking for India as buffer of china and jehadi state. I see glorious day for India coming days. Europe's nato country hate any kind of war, islam will take over Europe in decade or less. USA need giant ally which can fight against communist china and jehadist nation. India fit in this very well. Rusia becomes hindu nation if you see video on youtube and russian loves deeply hinduism.
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                              1. P
                                pravnedra patel
                                Oct 29, 2016 at 5:08 pm
                                poor madra education doesn't know fighter's real name and already inducted in airforce. crying foul zolawala
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  r
                                  Oct 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm
                                  Do not cry and shed crocodile tears because NDA is ruling
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                                    Citizen
                                    Oct 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm
                                    Half the money will end in kickbacks while the hardware will just rust in a few years time. Very bad decision unless we have to launch an immediate war against China. There will be more people killed by lack of infrastructure resulting in accidents, our very limited ability to respond immediately and adequately to natural disasters, malnutrition, epidemics due to poor health and hygienic conditions, deadly water/air pollution and poverty. Unfortunately, no govt. acts with general public's interests in mind.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      shyam
                                      Oct 30, 2016 at 6:52 am
                                      my opinion we need only modern total 500 fighters needed to war against china or pak ?more important is how to protect our air bases from enemy attack is prime target if a small scale war begins ? lt;br/gt;think to develop satan 2 (RS28 )like ICBM at least 30 with 50Mt bomb to takeout china?
                                      Reply
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                                        ProdyotPran
                                        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm
                                        We need to bring in Russian Manufacturers. They are our trusted friends.lt;br/gt;Moreover, theirs is the best technology in the world leaving behind by a long margin the bests of the Europe and the US.lt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;For weapon systems none can surp Russia. Their weaponry showed supremacy in the current Syrian war.lt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;If we keep out Russia from our battle gear procurement list we will suffer in the future.lt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;The West and the US are totally untrustworthy. They can renege any moment.lt;br/gt;-
                                        Reply
                                        1. V
                                          Vikram
                                          Oct 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm
                                          Wonder why the likes of you were in hybernation during UPA
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vasudevan Venugopal
                                            Oct 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm
                                            "Modi govt offers to buy 200 foreign combat aircrafts as long as the jets are made in India and with a local partner." A sound move by the Prime Minister.
                                            Reply
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