With the first indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC I) said to be ready by 2020, the Indian Navy is likely to issue the request for proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 57 multi-role combat fighter jets by the mid-2018.
“Hopefully we will be able to issue the RFP by middle of next year,” Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said.
The Navy Chief also said the naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. cannot operate from deck and that is why the Navy was looking for other options. In this regard, four aircraft manufacturers have shown the interest.
He also said the “form and fit” of the second indigenous aircraft carrier have been finalised and that it will be a 65,000-tonne vessel. He further said there will not be any financial constraints in procuring 57 new deck based fighter jets. However, Admiral Lanba indicated that declining capital budget for the Navy was a matter of concern and said he had raised the issue with the defence ministry.