Parrikar’s Fighter Project: India Focuses on F/A-18 Deal With US

India seems to inch closer to Parrikar’s “fighter project” that, he said, was in the “zone of consideration”. 

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File photo of a F18 Super Hornet creates a vapor cone as it flies at a transonic speed. (Photo: Reuters)

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter is all set for a trip to India from 10-12 April to reportedly offer fighter aircraft F/A-18 “Super Hornet” to the Indian Air Force under the Make in India programme, reports The Times of India.

The IAF is down to just 33 fighter squadrons, and the much-touted Rs 60,000-crore acquisition of 36 French Rafale fighters is yet to be clinched, a year after the Modi-Hollande summit in Paris announced the proposed deal. Sources say India is now actively exploring the possibility F/A-18 fighters being manufactured by Boeing.

But there’s a little hitch, as highlighted by the TOI report.

India, of course, remains upset with the Obama administration’s recent move to sell another eight F-16s to Pakistan for $699 million on the specious ground of counter-terrorism, which will now also be followed by nine AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters for $170 million. Overall, Pakistan will now have 84-85 F-16s primarily directed at India.

The decision comes after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent remark that “a fighter project” is in the “zone of consideration”.

Read the full report by The Times of India here.

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