124 tanks, 126 jets to be acquired by '09: Minister | india | Hindustan Times
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124 tanks, 126 jets to be acquired by '09: Minister

The letters of intent for the fighters have already been received from US, French, Swedish and British companies.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 16:26 IST

India will acquire 126 multi-role combat jets for the air force and 124 main battle tanks for the army by 2009, Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh said in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

The letters of intent for the fighters have already been received from US, French, Swedish and British companies and it will take a few months for the request for proposals to be issued, Singh told a meet-the-press programme in Chandigarh.

"We will induct the fighters in phases," he said, adding the Indian Air Force's ageing MiG-21s are scheduled to be phased out by 2011.

He said the 66 Hawk advanced jet trainers purchased from Britain's BAE Systems would soon begin arriving.

Five Arjun MBTs were recently given to the army and they had been thoroughly tested and found satisfactory.

Singh, who recently reviewed the production status of the MBT, said the cost of producing each tank in ordnance factories worked out to Rs 17 crore.

He also said that production of anti-material rifles had started in an ordnance factory at Trichi. "The state-of-the-art rifle can use 13.5 mm and 20 mm bullets," he said.

To a question, Singh said the defence procurement policy introduces increased levels of transparency and accountability in the arms purchase process.