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Procurement of 114 Fighter Aircraft Would Be Under The Make In India Initiative: IAF Chief

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Procurement of 114 Fighter Aircraft Would Be Under The Make In India Initiative: IAF Chief
The world’s major defence contractors are pitching for their fighters for the lucrative MRFA deal

New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is taking forward the proposed procurement of 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) and that it would be carried out under the Make in India initiative.

In April 2019, the IAF issued an RFI (Request for Information), or initial tender, to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 18 billion. It was billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurement programs in recent years.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8, the IAF Chief said the response to the RFI has been received from several aerospace firms and that the acquisition process is taken forward to the next phase.

“The project would be under the Make In India initiative…We are moving the case further,” he said, replying to a question on the mega procurement.

The top contenders for the deal include Lockheed Martin’s F-21, Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG-35 and SAAB’s Gripen.

When asked whether the IAF would go for an additional 36 Rafale aircraft to deal with immediate requirements, the Chief of Air Staff suggested that the fighter jet could be one of the contenders for the MRFA project.

Last year, the then IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria did not rule out procurement of more Rafale jets, and said the induction of the French-made multi-role aircraft has given the Indian Air Force an operational edge to strike “deep and hard”.

There has been a view among some officials in the military establishment that the IAF should at least have four squadrons of Rafale jets considering its operational aspects. There are 18 aircraft in a squadron.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said procurement of 114 jets under the MRFA project and acquisition of 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will help the IAF significantly in the face of a gradual drop in the number of fighter squadrons due to phasing out of the fleets of Jaguar, Mirage and the MiG-29.

He also said that the IAF is fully committed to the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) aircraft project.

India is also working on an ambitious USD 5 billion project to develop a fifth-generation medium weight deep penetration fighter jet to significantly bolster its air power capability.

The IAF chief said the force is looking at technologies for the aircraft that can integrate fifth and sixth generation technologies, adding the plan is to induct the AMCA by the early years of the next decade.

He said the IAF will not be able to reach the sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons in the next 10-15 years notwithstanding all the planned acquisitions.

The Air Chief Marshal said the IAF would have 35 squadrons by the next decade with phasing out of old aircraft and induction of new ones.

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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