01:21 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Indian Navy personnel stand on the INS Vikramaditya, a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier, during the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam on February 6, 2016

    Indian Navy Gets Cracking on Jet Trials for $15 Billion Fighter Deal

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    The Indian Navy has rushed into the trial of four jets that had responded to its request for information (RFI) as part of a $15 billion deal. The decision to start trial indicates the urgency of the Navy to procure a fighter jet for its aircraft carrier.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) In the first phase of trials, the French Rafale of Dassault Aviation and American F-18 from Boeing had taken part in trials on the western coast of Karwar on the Russian-made aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, formerly Admiral Gorshkov.

    SAAB and Rosoboronexport will also show their capabilities during the trial to the Indian Navy which has detailed its requirement for the naval fighter in a 55-page RFI, sources said. The four manufacturers had responded to the global RFI issued by the Indian Navy in January this year.

    Multi-role fighters are intended as day-night capable, all-weather deck-based combat aircraft which can be used for air defense, air-to-surface operations, buddy refueling, reconnaissance, and EW missions from Indian aircraft carriers. The Indian Navy is keen to get the aircraft manufactured via license production after acquiring transfer of technology in the case.

    Selected aircraft will operate from indigenously developed IAC-1 aircraft carrier which will be conventional ski jump-based short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) layout and INS Vikramaditya. The IAC 1 which is under construction is expected to go for trial in 2019. Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said in May this year that all the companies to whom RFI had been issued had replied.

    The Swedish SAAB is pitching its single engine Sea Gripen while Russia’s upgraded MiG 29K is another contender of the tender. The Indian Navy is expected to issue tender soon following the go-ahead from the government. “Hopefully, we will select and shall have deck-based carrier airborne fighter in next 4-5 years,” Admiral Lanba had told reporters.


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