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IAF to conduct limited trials for F-16/Gripen warplanes

IAF to conduct limited trials for F-16/Gripen warplanes
13 Jun 2017
  • The Indian Air Force will be conducting limited trials of the US-built Lockheed Martin F-16 and Swedish Saab Gripen fighter jets.
  • The IAF then plans to select the foreign company which will build 120 jets locally under the 'Make in India' program in a deal estimated to be worth $20 billion ((Rs 1.3 lakh crore).
  • The IAF needs new-aircraft to augment depleting fighter strength.

  • IAF's fighter jet squadron strength very low
    The IAF currently has 35 active fighter squadrons as opposed to a sanctioned strength of 42. Each squadron has between 18 to 20 aircraft. However, as per a recent Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Defence, the IAF's actual strength may be down to 25 squadrons.

    F-16/Gripen lost to Rafale in IAF's MMRCA contest
  • IAF sources said both planes underwent extensive trials seven years ago for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) evaluation process.
  • The French-made Dassault Rafale won the 126 aircraft contract.
  • The F-16, an aging platform, wasn't selected after the MMRCA trials because there was no potential to further develop the aircraft.
  • The Gripen lacked the IAF's mandatory advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar requirement.

  • MMRCA was scrapped, IAF's fighter woes continue
  • Massive cost escalations prompted the Modi government to scrap the MMRCA deal.
  • It purchased 36 Rafale jets which would be manufactured in France, leaving the IAF still short of dozens of warplanes.
  • The winner of the F-16/Gripen contest will add 120 single-engine fighter jets making up for this deficiency and replace the IAF's vintage MiG-21 and MiG-27 warplanes.

  • F-16/Gripen capabilities have improved since previous evaluations
    Why re-evaluate?
  • Lockheed has offered its latest F-16 Block 70 version while the newest Saab Gripen variant comes with an advanced AESA radar.
  • "To test the new capabilities, there would a limited trial only and we are hoping to select and finalize the foreign partner within the next one year," according to IAF sources.
  • The IAF is also inducting 123 indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.

  • This post first appeared on NewsBytes: Latest News, Breaking News India, Today News, Current News, please read the originial post: here

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    IAF to conduct limited trials for F-16/Gripen warplanes


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