Four defense companies have responded to a Request for Information issued by Indian Navy in January to procure 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its carrier.
Currently, six planes are compatible for aircraft carrier. They are Rafale (Dassault, France), F/A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MIG-29K (Russia), F-35B and F-35C (Lockheed Martin, US) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden). While F-18, Rafale and MIG-29K are twin engine jets, the remaining three have single engine.
Of these, Dassault, Saab and Rosoboronexport (which markets the MiG-29) have openly said that would be interested in the Indian Navy tender While Boeing has earlier stated that it would be keen on getting back after it lost out in the MMRCA tender.
The Indian Navy in January issued a Request for Information to procure 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its carrier after having rejected locally built 'Tejas' as too heavy.
"The Navy has got response from four players for the RFI. We will examine the RFI and take it forward," Admiral Sunil Lanba was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India Thursday.
Admiral Lanba said on the sidelines of a seminar organised by FICCI on 'Building India's Future Navy Technology Imperatives'.
He, however, did not reveal company names that are keen in the proposal. Currently, Indian Navy operates 45 MIG-29K jets which face serviceability issues from time to time. The delivery of deck based fighter jets is expected to take four-five years.
The indigenously built aircraft-carrier Vikrant should complete trials in 2019. It was likely to be commissioned by 2020, it was announced this week that the Scorpene submarine Kalvari is going through its final phase of trials and should be delivered by August.