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IAF chief contradicts CDS Rawat, says plan is to buy 114 foreign fighters besides LCA Tejas

CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat had said IAF was planning to buy the indigenous LCA Tejas instead of 114 ‘Make in India’ foreign jets.

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New Delhi: Four days after Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat said the Indian Air Force was planning to switch over to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ rather than pursue a global tender for 114 new fighter jets, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria has contradicted him.

Bhadauria said Monday that the list of aircraft planned to be inducted by the IAF includes 36 Rafales, 114 multirole fighter aircraft, 100 advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) and over 200 LCAs in different variants.

Rawat had told news agency Bloomberg last week that the IAF “is switching to the LCA” when asked about the global tender for jets.

“The IAF is saying, I would rather take the indigenous fighter, it is good,” he was quoted as saying.

The CDS’ words came as a setback for the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Saab, who were in the race for the contract for 114 aircraft, which would be worth at least 15 billion dollars and would also entail technology transfer under ‘Make in India’.

However, IAF chief Bhadauria told news agency ANI Monday: “This project (114 jets) is in the middle-weight and is in the Rafale class, in this issue, we will deal with it in the Make in India region, with an increase in FDI, with support to the private sector. I think in future this will bring in technology which is required to support the aviation sector. I think it is important to have another generation of aircraft in terms of capability, technology as we go along (sic).”

Also read: Dassault, Boeing and Saab — the front-runners for IAF’s 114 fighter jet contract

Separate programmes

When the CDS had made his comments last week, they had come as a surprise to the Air Force and industry. Sources had explained to ThePrint that the 114 jets cannot be replaced by the 83 LCA as the two fighters are of different classes.

“The IAF projections take into account the 83 LCA Mk 1A, Rafale, the 114 foreign fighters under Make in India, and even the AMCA,” a source had said.

Another source, who was involved in the negotiations for 83 LCAs, said it was wrong to mix up two separate programmes.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also said his force is planning to acquire 450 fighter aircraft for deployment on the northern and western frontiers of the country over the next 35 years.

Regardless, the IAF will not reach its sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons by 2042, its projections have revealed.

The best-case scenario is if the force inducts the Tejas Mark 2, the AMCA and 114 fighter aircraft, for which a request for proposal is still awaited.

Also read: Why Air Force won’t be a part of India’s massive Covid evacuation for now


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  1. I read Feb 2020 interview of CDS. First he said, we dont want a bulk order of 114 fighters, but instead buy in small multiple orders. Not sure what is the benefit. If issue is cash flow, they should be able to negotiate that in a big order and also get foreign partner setup a manufacturing facility in India.

    I also heard a lot about indigenous Tejas Mk2 (or MWF) which is a medium weight fighter which can replace some or all of 114 imported medium weight fighters. Not sure what is the final plan.

  2. There are so many antiques and ageing aircraft in IAF that it’s close to 300 Tejas and 300 Rafales that would be necessary to replace all this stuff before 2030!

  3. None of the respected apex rank holder can give such faith shattering statement. If any changes in expansion parameters of armed forces takes place, it is discussed and well understood by the representatives. It may be the presentation error of media house deliberately or indeliberately.

  4. Someone, who writes on defense and would know the procurement process to say ” IAF chief contradicts CDS Rawat ” is not very dignified way of writing the opinions of the two senior most functionaries of the establishment.
    Such expressions should be avoided.

  5. This CDS is the democratizing of our three services. This is a huge conspiracy by beurocracy. We will suffer. Now IAF chief is contradicting tomorrow others will.
    No body knows better than Major Gaurav Arya.
    He has the guts to suggest right course of action to the Govt.

    He is just pleasing his political bosses

    • Rtd maj gaurav arya is nothing but a bjp tool to spread propaganda. I still remember him saying the news about 5000 chinese troops in Galwan is wrong. Be said it means almost two brigades. Its not true. And after dew weeks, Galwan face off happened and 20 indian soldiers died. He is in republic tv these days along with his friend Gooswani to fool people

  6. Well instead of dealing with various OEMs for 114 aircraft, IAF should re-negotiate with Dassault regarding setting up the assembly line for Rafale. Navy can also get benefited. We should involve Dassault for our AMCA program as well. History has already taught us that bringing technology etc was not beneficial for us. We bought Su 30 MKIs with ToT, what kind of ecosystem we built with that? HAL even today is struggling to produce 15 aircrafts a year with an imported engine. Wake up call for us!

  7. Why the Induan Army, Air Force and Navy too did NOT respond when a CIVILIAN with a gun and few ammunition entered Indian soil and butchered a Army Commander Colonel, a Major and 5 Jawans ?
    Why is the purpose of any organization called Border Security Force ( BSF) if more then ONE CRORE Bangladeshi can enter India, without any resistance, in last 50 years, by paying bribes at the border ?
    Why do they pay hefty salaries to a Govt organization called HAL for the last 70 years, if they are UNFIT to design and manufacture a world class fighter aircraft or a attack helicopter ?
    When imported liquor and choicest SUVs were avaliable at throw away price at Defence Canteens, they chose to live like Prince and Princess of Royal Families of India.
    Now, they shiver in their spine to see Nepali soldiers in borders ??? Do you have any guts to cross PoK territory, today ???
    It’s time for action, fellows ! You lived like celebrated FOOLS for so long !!

    • Please do not denigrate the forces with single brush. There are shortcomings in every service be it civil or defense and those need to be discussed and fixed.

    • Well Said Sir, but many Andh Bakhts may still don’t want to Digest the Truth what you said, India has been a Sleeping Giant for the Last 35 years, when China was moving in a jet speed in all categories and today they went so far ahead of us that it’s almost impossible to catch up with them and we are still living in a world of Religion and wasting our Precious Reserves on unwanted Statues, Only God can save this Country from the Crooks who has no “Will Power” what so ever at all to get our Country out of poverty and to International standard..

  8. Are these national secret of defense buying plans should be disclosed to the world like this? I wonder where is the information security for critical services like defense if it’s open to all

  9. Iaf chief has to maintain disciplin towards Cds if he have different opinion he should talk to directly to cds not directly in media. Totaly tipical indian mentality jealousy inke liye IAS officer hi acche thay waha baraber dicipline mai rehte thay.

    • The CDS is overstepping his mandated duties. He has no business to tell that Indian Navy is Airwing can be operationally deployed in western and northern sectors! He has no business to go to media regarding LCA without cross checking with IAF. Having no worthwhile work to do, he is proposing all Quixotic policies like Your of duty and inducting CAPF into Army for seven years. How can be Chief of the three wings of he does not know the role and basic capabilities of the Air arm of Navy. Tour of Duty of three years is another joke. We are losing trained soldiers and even battle hardened SF soldiers in fighting terrorists. The soldiers with average of one and of year service will be cannon fodder. Secondly what stops them to go to Supreme Court like SS lady officers did and won the case. Of 56% of budget allotted goes to pay and pension, fight with the Government for more allocation as enhanced percentage of GDP. Whom are you trying to please at the cost of morale of troops? Take a lesson from the Industries and others as to how they are wangling to get a bigger pie from the budget.

  10. As cds said, Iaf should purchase Tejas. The Iaf chief mentioned about procurement of Rafale 36 nos(already in pipeline) , 200 LCA, AMCA (Though Indigenous production) and meant future procurement of 114 foreign fighters (may be due to shortfall in indigenous production or meeting specific capabilities or catering to rejection due to some serious quality issues or all). Actually he was more elaborative.
    I am surprised where was contradiction between cds and airchief.
    Print seems to be more interested in creating confusion among readers.

  11. FAKE STORY… The IAF Chief did not contradict the CDS. Some media gang is making a poor attempt to create wedge between the two…

  12. I wonder who is your page editor? Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria is the Chief of Air Staff of the IAF and is not “head of the Indian Air Force”, as has been written as the caption of the photograph. For God’s sake get the designations right at least.

  13. KR Nair, IAF chief doesn’t know what he’s talking about? And who are you? An aviation expert? Don’t frigging talk like you are one.

  14. Why KAVERI ENGINE not developing DRDO Scientist inIndia with Test bed?when India will be stand in our own ?Not only” Aircraft’,Engine must be required Indigenous like Aircraft’.

  15. CDS is displaying his post retirement plans. Pleasing the present govt at the cost of IAFs strength.shame!

  16. Bipin, the CDS is like the joker in a pack of cards! Because, he knows how to please his Master, he was retained and promoted to play the role of court jester. When he has such limited role, he shouldn’t open his ass without knowing the technicalites and not having expertise. It is disgrace to uniform when subordinate revolt, may be mildly! Hope Bipin takes the clue for future and don’t meddle with Navy as already did!

  17. Engaging forces in infecting environ is gifting our land to enemies.Only JLNehru had the patriotism to gift our land to China and Pakistan.He believed worshipping Ram,Krishna for the last 3000 yrs brought slavery and poverty to people. But Punditji honestly admitted of eating beef etc.

  18. Vested interest?
    Projects cancelled and payment of Bangalore based Tonbo imaging, a Defence start-up company’s, are held causing huge crises for the company and employees. Now the Government is keen to pursue foreign purchases, how do you justify this
    Dont just talk about aatmanirbhar makeinindia, you need to really support the right resource.

  19. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat is partial to the army at the cost of the other 2 services. As it is, our forces are operating below par with equipment that should rightfully be scrapped. Please cut through the bullshit and clear the best equipment purchases for our forces on priority basis. Don’t wait till China kicks our asses. A concerned citizen.

  20. Was it a mistake to have backed out of the latest 5th generation fighter jet by Russia ,which has lately seen the day and is on trial sorties, on financial issues? It promises to be a real all-round threat to enemy countries on speed and maneuverability amongst stealth and other avionic issues?

  21. The Print has presented this article in wrong way, Air Chief Marshall Bhadauria has not contradicted the CDS. It’s very much possible that they would have discussed this and then IAF chief informed this to us. Pls Print, don’t spread misleading news headlines for sake of viewership.

    • And yes, forgot to add one more point, the IAF Chief said that we’re buying 114 foreign planes, he doesn’t say that we aren’t buying 83 LCA Tejas.

  22. No armed forces in the world including the US can meet all its requirements domestically. So it is foolish to assume that what was stated by the CDS was that we will or should get no imports whatsoever for our forces. The CDS and the forces understand it. All that was implied was to give a far greater thrust to indigenous products even by giving some concessions in the QR, where possible, at least for a few initial quantity. How such an effort to give a fillip to our domestic defence industry, only time will reveal. But with some of the sensible policy changes that have been introduced, there is hope. So the bottom line is to stop trying to plat my the services one against the other or to make a villain out of the CDS or the Chiefs. They know their job. Let us not become experts in areas where we possess no expertise

  23. For Heaven’s sake, don’t bring misunderstandings among our armed forces with controversial articles unless ofcourse you are commited to antinationalism!

  24. Contradiction Between Views Of High Defence Personnels Is Normal But Such Contradictions Should Not Be Media Thing Because Then It Will Be Considered That It’s Elite Mindset Grudge Based Thing Between Highly Placed Defence Personnels And That’s Catastrophic For Glory And Security Of Our Nation.Practical Mindset Should Be Orientation Not Elite Ego Which Only Lead To Chaos And Harms National Defence Discipline.

  25. Err….. isn’t the purpose of the CDS, to present a coordinated front for all the armed forces? What’s the point if it says one thing, only to be contradicted by one of the individual branches? Kind of defeats the purpose of coordination. And this is just information channeling to the media. Imagine the coordination going on behind the scenes in terms of operations!

  26. The move is encouraging by CDS and for the young who inspire to work with the ARM FORCES

  27. Join nato and save billion of dollars that goes to contractors and bribery to millatry officers and politician

  28. Why don’t you join nato and saves billion of dollars you pay to contractors and bribery to millatry officers

  29. Its good that the IAF Chief has clarified the matter publicly. Otherwise, the foot in the mouth CDS may even have made it a fait accompli situation.
    In any hierarchical organization at every level public servants have enough leeway to withstand and even question the whims and fancies of their immediate superiors and it they are do not exercise this authority, for whatever reason, then the organization itself will go for a toss. This is particularly so of uniformed forces, especially the armed forces.

  30. Shows the utter ignorance of Rawat in matters of tech Enhancement in Aviation and Naval domains, and his being a loose cannon on matters not concerning him, the two sectors are nowhere akin to a Gurkha paltan, where Rawat would be more comfortable.

  31. Dear Print,
    Please read your title n sub title before printing these incomplete news n misguiding people.
    Title says #IAF chief contradicts CDS Rawat, says plan is to buy 114 foreign fighters besides LCA Tejas#
    Where as subtitle says instead of lCA Tejas.
    It’s a laughing matter.

  32. Airforce chief Bhaduria is a master of head of acquisitions committee he has made millions and passed on to his then political masters,some of whom are known to him through his father in law,an ex congressman . Of course any further acquisition would suit him.


  34. Aie chief doesn’t know whose efforts go to make a design superior. It’s the incidents, accidents and investigation that make it happen. Many pilots lose their lives to achieve this goal. Why should India’s pilots sacrifice their lives to achieve this goal for foreign manufacturers…

  35. For time being we should go indigenous aircraft.No country will attack us for a long war.We are a nuclear country.So don’t waste our earned foreign exchange.We had already purchased. more than 1700 mig 21 aircrafts and still we can’t make one fighter aircraft.The IAF chief doesnt know the value of money and employments.First he should recommend the pending Maha Vir Chakra to 1971 Indo Pak war hero flying officer K.P.Muralidharan MIA where the IAF bileatedly recommended MVC as many times to Flying Officer K.P.Muralidharan.Even the Pak enemy pilot who shot down FG.offr Muralidharan has eloquently praised him of his bravery and valour during the air battle of Peshawar.K.Rajendran Nair ex.KVH.

  36. What a mess.?………IAF chief or CDS who is really correct?? If there is so much confusion in peace time what would happen during war??

    • Your comment is result of this misleading headline. The title says, 114 foreign fighters, it doesn’t say that IAF is not buying LCA Tejas, read the full article first.

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