MMRCA flight test evaluation by April, says IAF chief

Satara:The Indian Air Force will complete flight test evaluation for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) by April next year, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik said.

"We will complete flight test evaluation for these aircraft by April...the report would then be sent to the government," the Air Chief told a news agency.

The IAF has been holding trials for its USD 10-billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft tenders in which US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French D'Assault, Swedish SAAB, European consortium EADS and Russian MiG are contenders.

"The evaluation report would be discussed by the Cabinet Committee on Security, after which the process of awarding contract would be initiated," he said.

"The aircraft would be in service by 2013," he added. India is acquiring 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to make up for the decreasing fleet of fighter aircraft squadrons as part of the rapid modernisation of the Force to counter threat from the eastern and western fronts.

The Air Chief was here to attend the alumni meet of the Defence Ministry-managed Sainik School over the weekend. He belongs to the the first batch of cadets that passed out from the school, which completes Golden Jubilee next year.