The Indian Air Force (IAF) may acquire 126 fifth-generation fighter jets worth an estimated $10bn during the next fiscal year, starting 1 April, as part of the country’s plan to increase and modernise its aircraft fleet.

Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said the acquisition process is going on smoothly.

“We hope in the next fiscal year that the Indian Air Force will be able to clinch the deal,” he added.

Air Chief Marshall PV Naik said, “We are looking for a fifth-generation aircraft. We are looking for an aircraft that is capable of super supercruise, capable of carrying very potent long-range weapons, capable of higher level of avionic shall, which are not there in a fourth-generation aircraft and which technology permits you to have.”

Six companies competing for the deal are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Aircraft, Dassault Aviation, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab.

Lockheed has offered the F-16 fighter jet, while Boeing has pitched the F/A-18.

Other aircraft being offered include Russia’s MiG-35, the Saab Gripen, Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon.