Trials to buy 126 fighter jets begin

Trials to buy 126 fighter jets begin

New Delhi: India started field trials to buy 126 fighter jets this week, defence officials said on Friday, moving forward on a $10.4 billion (Rs50,648 crore) deal to modernize the air force.

Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, France’s Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-16, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, produced by a consortium of European companies, are in the race for the contract, one of the biggest in play.

“The trials have begun in full swing and it will take a year to complete it in different places and weather conditions," Nung Sanglemba Ao, a defence ministry official, told Reuters.

This week, two pilots are flying Boeing’s Super Hornets in Bangalore to test the planes’ manoeuvrability and effectiveness, defence officials said.

The aircraft will be tested in extreme cold conditions in the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan, an air force spokesman said.