In one of the biggest defence modernisation programmes in the country, six global aircraft manufacturers have responded to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) request for providing details of their products for its over $25 billion project to acquire 114 fighter planes.

“All six companies including Lockheed Martin F-16  and Boeing F-18  of the US, Gripen of Sweden, MiG 35 of Russia, European consortium Eurofighter and Rafale of France have responded before the last date July 6 that is today,” Defence Ministry officials told MyNation on Friday.

This is the biggest fighter acquisition project of the Air Force which is looking to augment its numbers and replace its aged fleet of MiG 21 and MiG 27 planes.

The Air Force had issued a request for information a couple of months ago asking the global vendors to submit information about their planes along with their price and other terms of production in India.

The aircraft are required by the Air Force to meet its sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons. Now, it is down to 31 due to the retirement of MiG 21 units.

The Air Force is hoping to finalise the deal at the earliest using the government route to avoid delays as its plans for acquiring new fighter fleet have not fully fructified.

After a delay of over 15 years, the Narendra Modi government in 2015 decided to go in for buying 36 more Rafale combat planes to provide interim solution to the force’s requirements.