India to pick combat fighter by mid-DecemberNovember 18th, 2011 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Nov 18 (IANS) India will pick by mid-December a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in a multi-billion dollar deal, the Indian Air Force chief, Air Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, said Friday.
“By mid-December we should have very good sense of who has been selected,” Browne told reporters here without naming the two competing aircraft - Eurofighter Typhoon and Dasault Rafale - whose commercial bids were opened Nov 4 in New Delhi.
Of the original six bidders, the defence ministry short-listed in April European consortium EADS Cassidian (Typhoon) and French Dassault Aviation (Rafale) for the estimated $10 billion (Rs.50,000 crore) contract to supply 126 fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
“In another four weeks, we should be able to wrap-up the deal as a lot of work is going on and we are calculating hard,” Browne said on the margins of a conference on aviation medicine.
The four other contending aircraft were the F-16 of Lockheed Martin, F/A-18 of Boeing, MiG-35 of Russian United Aircraft Corporation and Gripen of Swedish SAAB.
The air chief, however, declined to comment on fears of cost escalation due to the four-year-long tendering process and rupee weakening against the US dollar of late.
“I can’t tell anything till the time we finish that work, as there are a lot of complicated calculations and figures that need to be checked,” Browne asserted.
Though the tender was issued in August 2007, it took another four years to begin the process of selecting the lowest bidder in the presence of the cost negotiation committee members and representatives of the two vendors.
The bids of the European consortium from Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain and EADS Cassidian as also Dassault Aviation are being perused to evaluate the fly-away cost, life cycle cost, technology transfer cost and the offset offers.
The offset clause in the tender, included under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) of 2006, requires the winner to reinvest 50 percent of the deal amount in the Indian defence industry in an effort to energise it.
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