A Swedish SAAB JAS-39 Gripen fighter

IAF is evaluating responses to its request for information, from six global firms

The final tender (the request for proposal) for the purchase of 110 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) can be expected only around mid-2019, a senior defence source said, confirming that the IAF was evaluating responses to its request for information from six global firms.

“The bids received are quite exhaustive. They are being evaluated after which the service quality requirements for the new fighter will be issued by the IAF. The request for proposal is expected around mid-2019,” the source said.

The IAF will lower the specifications and will not be rigid to accommodate more aircraft in the short-list so as to avoid the repeat of the situation during the short-listing of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft when only two twin-engine jets qualified.

The procurement will be processed through the strategic partnership policy under the Defence Procurement Procedure.

The Defence Acquisition Council on Monday issued the guidelines for the implementation of the strategic partnership policy as well as project-specific guidelines for the naval utility helicopters.

The IAF issued the request for information on April 6.