The Indian Air Force multicombat fighter jet deal has kicked off with the first trials of Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.
The trials are the first of the three phases to select an aircraft to fulfil the air force's acquisition target of 126 medium multirange combat aircraft, worth an expected $10bn.
The IAF will conduct flight evaluation and performance trials for six fighters, including Gripen, Lockheed Martin's F-16 , Eurofighter's Typhoon, Russia's MiG35 and Dassault's Rafale fighter.
The first phase, which will test all options one-by-one, will include tests in three climatic conditions, humid in Bangalore, hot in Jaisalmer and cold in Leh.
The second phase will include flight trials in Indian airspace, while in the third phase the aircraft will undergo a series of tests to evaluate the weapon systems mounted on the fighters in home conditions.
India will acquire 18 of the aircraft in ready-to-fly conditions and the remaining will be built in India under transfer of technology.