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India to upgrade air force with new planes
April 7, 2018, 5:37 pm

France has proposed that India purchase an additional 36 ready-to-fly Rafale fighter jets [India: PMO]

In a bid to boost its air combat force from 31 to 42 fighter squadrons, India this weekend embarked on a global tendering process to buy some 110 aircraft at an estimated cost of $15 billion.

This comes as part of a drive initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to upgrade the air combat fleet with a budget of $250 billion over the next few years.

The Modi government has stipulated that at least 85 per cent of the aircraft must be manufactured in India.

A 2007 deal to purchase 126 fighter jets from France’s Dassault Rafale Aviation company was scrapped in April 2015 following a series of allegations of corruption and accounting errors.

Instead, Modi’s government in September 2016 purchased 36 ready-to-fly nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets directly from the French government.

India seems to have relented on the clause of “Make in India” for the Rafale deal.

The Rafale, manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation, is a twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter. Since it was introduced in 2000, it only serves in the French navy.

Due to its high price, the French aircraft faces competition from Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Gripen NG from Sweden’s Saab.

During French President Emanuel Macron’s visit to India last month, an additional 36 Rafale righter jets were proposed to the Indian government; the ministry of defence is currently reviewing the offer.

The BRICS Post with input from Agencies

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