French bag India’s largest defence order for fighter jets (Lead)

January 31st, 2012 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) India’s largest ever defence deal, a $10.4 billion (Rs.52,000 crore) order for 126 fighter jets for the air force, has gone to France’s Dassault after over four years of a fiercely-fought bidding process.

Finally, it was a direct financial duel between Dassault and European consortium Eurofighter and Rafale pipped Typhoon with the lowest bid to emerge winner of what is also one of the largest such deals globally.

“Dassault has been informed that it has emerged L1 in the bid for 126 multi-role fighter aircraft tender,” a defence ministry official told IANS, referring to the lowest price quoted for the Rafale.

“But the contract will be signed only in the next financial year.”

The other four aircraft in the fray earlier were American firms Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18, Russian United Aircraft Corporation’s MiG-35 and Swedish SAAB’s Gripen.

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