India is looking to replace its aging Russian made planes. The expected contract is worth an estimated $10 billion and will include the purchase of 126 fighter jets.
New Delhi is currently considering two models, French company Dassault Aviation SA’s Rafale fighter jet, and the Typhoon jet from the European syndicate Euro fighter GmbH. The financial bidding was opened today for both companies on Friday. An official told reporters, the features of the bid has been noted, and price negotiations would commence in a week. The vendor for the jets is expected to be decided in three to four weeks.
Under the 126 fighter-jet orders, the first 18 jets will be bought in “fly-away” condition. The remainder of the military planes will be produced with the selected vendor in India as per government regulations. At least 30% of the order will be fulfilled from domestic suppliers.
On the other hand, US has offered to sell India top of the line joint strike fighters F35. The offer comes after the US lost out on a bit to sell India 126 multi-role F-16 and F-18 combat jets. According to a Pentagon report, “should India indicate interest in the JSF, the United States would be prepared to provide information on the JSF and its requirements (infrastructure, security, etc.) to support India’s future planning.”
Washington is aiming to improve its bilateral defense ties with the South Asian country. The report stated that over the next five years, the United States “will continue to establish itself as a reliable defense supplier to India.” Washington is also looking for ways to expand export of defense equipment to India, and has advocated for the use of US technology to satisfy India’s defense needs.