Eurofighter to quote price for IAF order this month

June 9th, 2010 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 By D. Balaji
Berlin, June 9 (IANS) European aerospace consortium Eurofighter GmbH will submit its bid price this month for hard-selling 126 of its advanced fourth generation fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF), a top consortium official said Wednesday.

Eurofighter completed the field evaluation trials of its medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) Typhoon in April.

“We are submitting our bid to the Indian government for the IAF order later this month. The flight trials of the supersonic strike fighter have been successfully completed in two phases, which began in February,” Eurofighter chief executive Enzo Casolini told IANS here.

The consortium is one of the six contenders for the prestigious IAF order, estimated to be about $10 billion.

The IAF plans to acquire 18 of these in ready-to-fly condition, with the remaining 118 being manufactured by the Indian defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) under technology transfer and licensed production, to replace its ageing Russian MiG-21 fleet and enhance its strike capability.

The US-based Lockheed Martin F-16s and Boeing’s F/A-18IN Super Hornet, French D’Assault’s Rafale, Swiss SAAB’s Gripen and Russian MiG-35 are the other five bidders for the MMRCA order.

“We had demonstrated Typhoon’s outstanding operational capabilities during the flight trials when experienced IAF test pilots flew two of them under specific Indian conditions starting in Bangalore Feb 22,” Casolini said at the 100th Berlin international air show on the outskirts of the German capital.

The IAF has formed two teams of two test pilots each for flight trials. In the first phase, the technical evaluation was completed in early 2009 after the six vendors responded to its request for proposals (RFP) in 2008.

The fortnight trials included flying the twin-engine Typhoons at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Leh in the northern border state of Jammu & Kashmir to demonstrate its desert and high altitude capabilities in early March.

In the run-up to the trials, the shortlisted IAF test pilots and engineers had undergone extensive training in Germany.

“The final phase of flight trials were conducted in Europe to test the fighter’s cutting edge weapons systems and advanced sensors. The exercises included dropping precision guided munitions and launching air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles,” Casolini added.

Eurofighter used two Typhoons of the German Air Force’s squadron 73, which is based at Laage in northern Germany.

The consortium flew in three twin engine canard-delta wing Typhoons to the Bangalore international air show (Aero India) in Feb 2009 to showcase its awesome strike capabilities.

As the new generation real multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft, 220 Typhoons are already in service with the air forces of six nations - Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

The Eurofighter consortium consists of four partner firms Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica in Italy, BAE Systems in Britain, EADS CASA in Spain and EADS Deutschland in Germany.

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