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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 11:30 GMT
India to buy 126 new warplanes
F-16 jet fighter aircraft
The F-16 is one of the world's most successful jet fighters
The Indian air force is to buy 126 new war planes and it says that American-built F-16 fighters are among those being considered.

Air force head Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi says aircraft from France, Sweden and Russia are also being considered.

The purchase will replace India's ageing Russian built MiG-21s, which date back to the 1960s.

The budget for the new aircraft and the timeframe for their delivery are yet to be determined.

Russian aircraft make up most of India's fleet, which has no US-built hardware in it.

"At the moment we have just sought information from various companies and we are awaiting it," Air Chief Marshal Tyagi said on the sidelines of an international aerospace seminar being held in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

"The F-16 is one of the aircraft we are looking at along with three others with similar capability," he said.

The Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft is being considered, along with Dassault Aviation's Mirage from France and Russia's new MiGs.

US-India ties

The F-16 is built by Lockheed Martin and is one of the world's most successful fighter aircraft.

About 4,500 are in commission with air forces around the world including India's neighbour and long-term rival Pakistan.

Russia dominates India's defence purchases but Delhi's air force also has British and French-built aircraft.

In 2001 the United States lifted sanctions imposed on India after its 1998 nuclear tests.

Since then the two countries have built a close economic and military relationship with their armed forces conducting several joint exercises.

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