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
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