He said that the purchase of the MRFAs de IAFthe armed forces’ armed forces and enabling them to adopt the advanced technologies that the armed forces “urgently desire” to more effectively execute its operational plans.
In April 2019, the IAF issued an RFI (Request for Information), or initial tender, to acquire 114 jets at a cost of approximately $18 billion (one billion is equal to 100 crore). It has been heralded as one of the world’s largest military procurement programs in recent years.
The top contenders for the multi-billion dollar deal are Lockheed Martin’s F-21, Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Russian MiG 35 aircraft and the Gripen jet from the Swedish aerospace giant Saab.
“While the entire process will be conducted under the terms of the DAP (Defense Acquisition Procedure) 2020, the selected OEM (Original Equipment Maker) will have to meet our technology transfer and Make-in-India requirements that would contribute to our native fighter planes production power‘ the chief of the air force told PTI in an interview.
He said the IAF has already received responses from multiple suppliers to its RFI.
“Purchasing the MRFA through the Make-in-India route will increase our military strength and enable us to deploy advanced technologies that we urgently desire to more effectively execute our operational plans,” Air Chief Marshal chaudharic said.
Asked about concerns that the IAF will not reach the sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons in the next 10–15 years and whether this would affect the force’s combat capabilities, he said a “two-pronged” strategy is being adopted to increase its effectiveness. strength that comes with the introduction of new generation platforms and upgrading of the existing fleet.
“There are several approaches underway under the Make-in-India initiative to achieve this within budget forecasts.
“Require improvements in technological capability and increases in numerical strength
efforts and involve lengthy processes with the necessary financial support,” he said.
The IAF chief said the development of the force must be critically aligned with the foreseen threats and available financial expenditure to account for the time-bound build-up of the necessary human resources and support infrastructure.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the purchase of 114 jets under the MRFA project and the purchase of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will help the IAF significantly increase its combat power.
He also referred to the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project.
India is also working on an ambitious $5 billion project to develop a fifth-generation medium-duty deep-penetration fighter jet to significantly boost its air force capability.
“The IAF aims to build its operational capabilities through planned introductions of LCA variants, MRFA and AMCA in a phased manner,” said the Chief of the Air Force.
“The IAF also sees a clear need for the introduction of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) has begun development of the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA),” he added.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari further said that the IAF is actively supporting the DRDO in this program.
The number of squadrons of the IAF is gradually decreasing due to the phasing out of old aircraft.
The Chief of the Air Force said the IAF strives to improve its operational capabilities through the introduction of modern technology and by ensuring better usability and availability of its resources, and in the coming years more rigorous, regular and realistic training in multi domain warfare are needed.
“Our focus on ‘Atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) should promote indigenousness and innovation at all levels, leading to greater self-reliance,” he said.
“Agility in thinking and acting through seamlessly integrated command and control structures should provide us with improved responsiveness and lethality,” he said.