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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Indian Air Force soon to acquire 126 jets

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Feb 7, IRNA
India-Aero 2007-IAF
India's Defense Minister A K Antony Wednesday said the procedure for purchasing 126 multi-role combat jets for the Indian Air Force is at the final stage and will be completed shortly.

"The procedure for acquisition of 126 multi-role aircraft is at the final stage. I can assure that a decision in this regard will be taken very quickly," he told reporters during a press conference at the Aero India show that he inaugurated this morning at Bangalore, PTI reported here.

Several frontline jets made by global aviation majors -- including the F-16 and F-18 of the US, Sweden's Gripen and Russia's MiG-35 -- are in the race for the contract.

Antony also said India's light combat aircraft project is very much on and 'there is no question' of it being abandoned.

Antony said during the 11th Plan, defense equipment worth eight to 10 billion dollars would have to be procured.

"For that, procedures are going on.

"In future, we do not want to continue only as a buyer. We want to establish a new relationship for joint design, co-production and joint development," Antony said.

"Hereafter, we are not willing for a buyer-seller relationship. We want to partner in technology development, production and manufacture," he said.

Referring to the development of a fifth generation fighter, Antony said the project would be taken up by Russia's Sukhoi and HAL, and the Defense Research and Development Organisation would also be involved.

"We are very serious about that."

Asked about China 'killing' an ageing satellite by firing a missile from the ground, he said it was not the only country to have done this.

"Some other countries have also done it. We are against the weaponization of outer space," he said.

On the creation of an aerospace command, Antony said there was a proposal for this but the government had not taken a decision on it.

"It should be a tri-services command," he remarked.

Meanwhile, National Carrier Indian is set to become the first airline in the country to induct white-bodied A-330 aircraft powered by US-based Cratt and Whitney (C and W) engines.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed by Indian Chairman and Managing Director Vishwapati Trivedi and Vice President of Cratt and Whitney Commercial engines James Masotti at the Aero-India show.

"We are happy to be associated with a reliable engine manufacturer like C and W. The induction of A-330 will allow us to further raise our standards of performance," Trivedi said.

Two A-330 aircraft are scheduled to join the Indian fleet later this year, he said adding, "We are also in the market to lease a couple of more these aircraft."

"India is an extremely important market for C and W and we see enormous potential for powering the growth of our Indian customers," Masotti said.

C and W has 17,000 aircraft engines in service with hundreds of airlines across the world.


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