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Request for proposal for Fighter aircraft shortly

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Sep 11: Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi today indicated that the Request for Purchase (RFP) for 126 multiple fighter aircraft will be made shortly.

Talking to Mediapersons here on the sidelines of the 54th International Congress and Aviation and Space medicine here, he said the fighting Falcon F-16 of Lockheed Martin was under consideration along with a few other fighter aircraft.

''First we will have to carry out the technological evaluation after we get response. The main factors will be how much of technology would the manufacturer transfer to India, suitability of the price, how quickly we could absorb the technology and whether any political strings are attached for the sale of the aircraft,'' he saud.

Replying to a question he said no problem was in sight in the weaponisation programme of the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.

He said, ''IAF has ordered for 20 aircraft and the production process is on schedule. We have not been informed of any slippages in production. We are carrying out the integration of weapons on the LCA. There may be some minor problems. Whether it is with the Indian companies or the private (foreign) firms that are supplying the weapons the Ministry of Defence will take care of it. IAF is not directly involved in it.''

The production of indigenously produced Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was still some distance away. The aircraft was still under development. ''At present it is only a concept at is at the designing stage. the LCH will be a combact helicopter which will have a specific role in the IAF,'' Mr Tyagi said. On shortage of pilots in the IAF, the Air Chief Marshal agreed that there was some shortage but there was no serious problem. The IAF had taken long term measures to induct more pilots keeping future needs in mind.

He denied that attrition rate was going up in IAF at present.

''The IAF pilots are bound by rules that will remain the same in the future also,'' he said.

On accident rates involving IAF fighter jets, The Air Chief said the rate had been falling steadily for the last 30 years. Minimising accidents was a continuous process and the accident rate would be brought further down, he added.


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