New Delhi: Even as the Defence Ministry prepares for a fresh global tender since after cancellation of the order for 126 Rafale jets from France, the IAF has cried foul that it will take eight to 10 years even while its fleet is depleting fast and cannot wait so long for the revamp.

Instead, it has pressed the ministry to go for procurement of more than 100 combat aircraft through a government-to-government (G2G) deal to avoid further time delays in the comp-

lex acquisition process involved in a competitive tender in which the winner vendor is selected through extensive trials.

The IAF’s argument is that if planes are to be procured through the tender route, it would take at least five years to select a vendor and then three to five years in getting delivery. It wants aircraft acquisition completed in the shortest possible time that is possible only in the G2G deal that will ensure that IAF starts getting aircraft in the next four years, as this is the only way to end the vicious circle of delays.

The IAF wants govt to keep in mind that its 10 squadrons equipped with MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft are to retire by 2024 on completion of their total technical life. There are some 160 fighter aircraft in these squadrons and their retirement would put the IAF in a precarious situation.

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