India is planning to sign a contract to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) fighter aircraft by March 2011, according to Indian Air Force chief of staff P. V. Naik.

Related activities pertaining to the aircraft acquisition are planned to be completed within a timeframe of six to eight months, reports quoting Vayu Aerospace.

The Indian Ministry of Defence issued the request for proposals for the MMRCA in August 2007 to six suppliers, and the technical evaluation was completed in June 2009.

Naik said the Indian Air Force conducted field evaluations from July 2009 to May 2010.

“In my opinion, considering the number of vendors involved and the complex nature of evaluations, there has not been any inordinate delay. We have been able to achieve our objectives well within the stipulated timeframe,” he added.