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IAF expansion plan will have F-16 bid

November 17, 2004 18:13 IST

The United States' F-16 aircraft will be in the race for India's plan to acquire 125 supersonic fighters, an Indian Air Force official said on Wednesday.

The IAF will insist on a technology transfer by aircraft manufacturers, including parting with the source code for avionics, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal S K Malik said in Bangalore on the sidelines of the 45th annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine.

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"We have not short-listed any aircraft nor discounted any," Malik said.

"Perhaps F-16 will be there, (Swedish) Grippen, Mirage 2000 and MiG 29 will be there," he said.

Malik said the qualifying requirements would be put in place shortly and presentations by the manufacturers invited.

This will be followed by the issue of request for proposals, he said.

"Product support should be guaranteed and uninterrupted, if for any reason there are sanctions on us, spares should be given," he said.

He said the move to go in for multiple vendors was to get better flexibility and cited the difficulty the IAF faced during the acquisition of the British Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer from a single vendor.

He said the initial process of identifying the aircraft that the IAF wanted to buy to replace the ageing MiGs would take around two years.

India had invited aircraft manufacturers for the Aero India air show in February next year, he said, adding, "Those countries who will take part will have commercial interests."

IAF teams will participate in combat exercises in France and the US next year, he said, adding the air force had gained significantly in the exercises in Alaska and South Africa this year.

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