Fighter jet selection will begin soon, says Parrikar

January 04, 2017 12:42 am | Updated 12:51 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The government will initiate the process for selecting a new single engine fighter jet to be built in India with extensive technology transfer as soon as the guidelines for giving a bigger role to the private sector in defence manufacturing is finalised, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday.

He said the guidelines for the ‘strategic partnership’ model, to be under the framework of the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016, were in the “final discussion stage” and it could be approved by this month-end.

The Indian Air Force has contracted with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 123 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas jets and, to address the depleting fighter strength and replace the MiG jets being retired, intends to select another single engine fighter from the global market.

Protective agreement

He said the criteria for selection would be the cost and the extent of technology transfer. While the price discovery and selection of local partner would be through competitive process, the final deal would also have a government to government agreement.

“Government to government agreement will be a protective umbrella agreement, while the actual dealing will be with the company,” Mr. Parrikar said.

Detailed offers

The government had recently asked diplomatic missions in countries that manufacture fighter aircraft to get information on their jets.

In anticipation of the major order for upwards of 100 jets, U.S.-based Boeing and Lockheed Martin and the SAAB of Sweden had already submitted detailed offers on their F-18, F-16 and Gripen fighters. However, F-18 is a twin engine jet which rules it out of the competition.

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