Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another single engine fighter to be made in India: Parrikar

Cutting down competition as of now to just two fighters — F-16 by Lockheed Martin and Gripen by Saab — Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said India will select one more single engine aircraft other than Tejas for indigenous manufacture under ‘Make in India‘ route.

His making it clear that the aircraft would be single engine means that double engine aircraft like F/A 18 by Boeing and Rafale by Dassault Aviation, both preparing for India‘s next round of multi-billion deal for fighters, are out of the race.

Just-retired Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha had said India required about 200 medium weight category aircraft besides the 36 Rafale fighters.

Parrikar also made it clear that navy will continue supporting the development of naval version of Tejas but the current one will be just a technology demonstrator. He said that the navy is seeking a double engine aircraft.

He said when India decides to go for a twin-engine fighter to be made here, the government will also consider the Rafale.

But as of now there are no plans to procure any additional aircraft, he added.

Talking about the next fighter competition of India, Parrikar said the need for a second production line for single engine aircraft is felt besides the one for Tejas.

“The second line of single engine requirement is also felt for which we are thinking of using the strategic partnership route,” he said.

The defence minister said once the chapter on strategic partnership is finalised this month, his ministry will start moving in the direction of single engine fighter aircraft.
27/12/17 Jackson Oberver