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India to purchase 126 fighter aircraft
June 10, 2006 14:17 IST
Indian Air Force would soon acquire 126 new fighter aircraft, including 18 Sukhoi supersonic jets, Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi said in Dehra Dun on Saturday.
A contract for the purchase of the Sukhoi jets would be signed shortly with Russia, he told reporters on the sidelines of the passing out parade at the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun.
Asked if all the fighter aircraft would be purchased from Russia, he said nothing has been finalised so far.
"The talks are on in this regard," he added.
The Sukhoi planes would replace 18 ageing aircraft, which would be sent back to Russia, he said.
To a question whether India would buy F-16s from US, he said the air force is currently evaluating the aircraft and any decision would be taken thereafter.
On Thursday's MiG-29 crash in Gujarat, Tyagi said an inquiry is currently on to ascertain the cause of the accident and dismissed a suggestion that there was some technical fault in the aircraft.
"The rate of air crash has, in fact, come down rapidly in India," he said.
Referring to the sortie of President A P J Abdul Kalam in a Sukhoi supersonic jet, he said it was a proud moment for the air force.
On the modernisation programme in IAF, he said it was an ongoing process and it would continue.