India to seek proposals from military aircraft makers

The Indian Air Force plans to purchase from one of the world's top combat aircraft manufacturers 126 new jet fighters, the nation's air force chief said Thursday.

Air Chief Marshal S. P. Tyagi said it would take years for a final decision to be made, but the government was likely to start soliciting formal proposals from suppliers before the end of the year.

India is looking at American F-16s and F/A-18 Super Hornets, French Mirages, Swedish Gripens and Russian MiGs, Tyagi said.

He said the new fighters would help match India's military to the country's growing economic and political clout, adding that the air force was also looking at buying more helicopters and aerial refueling aircraft.

As part of US$1.1-billion deal singed with Israel, the Indian air force will get the first of three PHALCON airborne early warning systems by the end of 2007, reports the AP.


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