Indian navy, air force fighter jet contests to heat up in 2019: executives
Boeing Co and Saab AB, which are among those vying for a contract to supply 57 fighter jets for the Indian Navy, expect it may take until 2019 for the tender process to enter the next phase, according to company executives.
The naval contract, as well as a less-advanced plan to buy 100 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, represent multi-billion dollar opportunities for manufacturers and for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” drive to build a domestic production base.
But with the country due to hold a general election by next May, the expectation is both processes could take time.
Boeing is proposing its F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab has touted its Gripen M concept in responses to a request for information (RFI) on the naval contract but they are waiting for a more formal request for proposal (RFP) to be issued.
Boeing Vice President Global Sales Defence, Space & Security Gene Cunningham said the Indian Navy and Ministry of Defence were evaluating the answers to the RFI to see if there were any changes to requirements or expectations before releasing the RFP.
“We see that evolving over the next year or so, then driving to a competition,” he told Reuters at the Singapore Airshow.
An Indian Navy spokesman said work was in progress and he expected an RFP would be issued in the months ahead detailing specific requirements.