India is mulling manufacturing one more line of fighter aircraft to replenish its dwindling fleet and a decision in this regard is likely to be taken in a year’s time, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said on Friday.
The Chief of Air Staff said the second line of fighter jets will be in addition to light combat aircraft Tejas and 36 Rafale planes that India will procure from France.
“Definitely they (government) are thinking to set up one more line of fighter aircraft in a year under the Make in India project so that the dwindling fighter aircraft fleet can be replaced within shortest possible time,” Raha said.
He was asked how the IAF is going to replenish the diminishing number of its fighter aircraft.
“This plan is going to materialise in a year’s time… Addition of new aircraft to the IAF fleet through indigenous technology is also being worked out, with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) providing 120 LCA,” he said.
The IAF chief said the Rafael multi-role fighter plane contract with France was likely to be through soon.
“Rafale contract is likely to be through as a lot of progress has been made. The outcome will be substantial in the first year itself. We are yet to work out modalities. The government is willing to spend more to improve operational capability of the armed forces.”
Raha was speaking at a press conference held at Jamnagar air force base where President Pranab Mukherjee awarded two units of the IAF – 28 Equipment Depot and 19 Helicopter Unit – with Presidential Colours and Standard, respectively.
India is likely to get 36 multi-role fighters from France- based Dassault Aviation under a government-to-government agreement, which is under negotiations.