Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It may be a while before Govt’s plan to build fighter jets in India takes off

New Delhi: The government’s plan to manufacture single-engine fighters in the country is likely to face delays even though the Defence Ministry has notified request for information (RFI) from three firms to participate in the programme under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

US aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin and Sweden’s SAAB have approached the government as a response to the RFI with their “unsolicited proposals” that have apparently failed to “impress” the Defence Ministry, a senior official told BusinessLine.

This is because, even though these companies have enumerated their plans to manufacture these jets under the ‘Make in India’ programme, the Ministry is keen on plans to transform India into an export hub for these jets, the official said.

Once the RFI is issued, the government floats Request for Proposals (RFPs) to shortlist the competing firms, according to norms. However, the government is learnt to be taking one step at a time in selecting the firm that will finally be chosen to manufacture the fighter jets here.

“The RFP will take time to be issued. A lot of factors need to be ascertained here apart from Make in India, logistics and infrastructure. The issue here is that once the armed forces buy these, what thereafter? Hence, export is a big factor, and indigenisation will play a crucial part in it,” the official said.
25/10/16 Nayanima Basu/Business Line

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