All vendors given reasons for combat jet short-listing: IAF chief

May 2nd, 2011 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) India Monday said it has individually conveyed to all six vendors in the $10.4 billion tender for 126 combat planes if their aircraft were compliant with the air force’s requirements and that there were no complaints so far from any of the four unsuccessful firms, including two from the US.

“The debrief (on compliance in flight evaluations) were conveyed to the vendors when the test was over. Everybody knows if they are complaint or not and they have been conveyed individually about it,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, told reporters here.

He was asked if there were any complaints from the unsuccessful vendors since India had down-selected European consortium EADS Cassidian’s Eurofighter Typhoon and French Dassault’s Rafale to continue in the race, which is expected to be over by March 2012.

India had Wednesday informed US majors Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and Swedish SAAB that their aircraft were out of the race in the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender.

“As far as satisfied or dis-satisfied is concerned, when you select one aircraft, it always happens that other people are dissatisfied. There is nothing wrong with our selection process. It is only a human feeling,” Naik said when asked about the deep disappointment that the US has expressed over the rejection of their two aircraft that were in the fray.

Boeing had fielded its F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin the F-16 Super Viper, while United Aircraft Corporation had offered its under-development Mig-35 and SAAB the Gripen.

“We selected the best and it so turned out that they are European planes,” Naik said.

On the inventory of the air force’s combat fleet, the IAF chief said it was “inevitable” that there would be three or four types of aircraft, though it was desirable to have just one or two types.

In the next 10 to 15 years, he said India would have Sukhoi SU-30s, the MMRCA, the fifth generation fighter aircraft jointly being developed with Russia and the indigenous light combat aircraft in the IAF inventory.

Naik said IAF’s fleet modernisation plans were now on track. He said the IAF had done their job on evaluating the six contenders for the MMRCA and now it was for the government to select the lowest bidder in the tender, which was being done according to the defence procurement procedure.

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