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India Begins Second Track for New Fighter

by: Matthew Potter
December 22, 2010

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, development program, Events, HAL, India, Lockheed Martin, MiG, Military Aviation, northrop grumman, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Proposal, S&T, SAAB, Services | RSS 2.0

Since independence India has primarily relied on a mix of British and Russian equipment. Some of this is purchased direct from the suppliers but India has often established assembly facilities and shared manufacturing for some systems. This includes jet aircraft such as the MiG-27 and MiG-29 fighters acquired from Russia.

In the last two years as part of an attempt to rapidly upgrade the technological level of their weapon systems and to take advantage of the world armaments market India has been more willing to buy Western equipment direct. This includes maritime patrol aircraft and transports from U.S. contractors Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) as well as working with Israeli and European companies.

One big contract that is winding its way through source selection is that for a new multi-role combat aircraft. India is reviewing proposals from Eurofighter, Rafael, SAAB, MiG, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman (NOC). These aircraft would most likely be made overseas but India does require offsets and investment in their economy.

This week India announced that it has signed a contract with the two Russian companies Sukhoi and Rosoboronexport to team with their own HAL to begin development of a new advanced fighter that would be based on the Russian T-50 aircraft but would be uniquely Indian. The initial contract is for about $295 million and would lead to the production of a fifth generation aircraft similar to the F-22 or Joint Strike Fighter.

The Indian military industry is taking on a tough project with this fighter program. These are about the most advanced systems to develop and put into production. This plan shows that India wants to improve its capabilities both in the air and with their industry. If they succeed they will have a viable aircraft both for their own use and for sales to other countries moving them onto the world stage in armaments production.

Photo from Jaiden’s flickr photostream.

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  1. Tweets that mention India Begins Second Track for New Fighter | Defense Procurement News -- Topsy.com on December 22nd, 2010 3:54 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dagpotter. Dagpotter said: India Begins Second Track for New Fighter | Defense Procurement News http://bit.ly/dGoDyY #in […]

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