Reinvestment offers submitted for IAF combat jet order

August 4th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of F-16

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Three global aircraft majors Monday submitted their industrial reinvestment offers as part of their bids for an Indian Air Force (IAF) order for 126 combat jets, with one company - EADS - reiterating its invitation to India to partner the future development of its Eurofighter Typhoon, one of the six jets in contention. US aerospace majors Boeing and Lockheed Martin also submitted their offset offers Monday.

The deal is worth $10 billion and 50 percent of this has to be reinvested in India as part of the offset obligations of the manufacturer that gets the IAF nod.

The IAF had floated its request for proposal (RFP) last August and these are currently being evaluated, after which the aircraft will be put through field trials before the eventual winner is selected.

Apart from the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the Lockheed Martin F-16, three other aircraft - the Swedish Gripen, the French Rafale and the Russian MiG-35 - are also in the fray. The other three manufacturers are yet to submit their offset offers.

EADS, Boeing and Lockheed Martin all said they were more than willing to discharge their offset obligations.

“Earlier this year we invited India to become a member of the successful Eurofighter family. Today I want to repeat this message,” Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Military Air Systems, an integrated business unit of EADS Defence & Security, said in a statement.

EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company, is a four-nation conglomeration of Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain.

“India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long-lasting and mutually beneficial political, industrial and military relations, which are based on our dedication for equal, fair and true partnership,” Gerwert added.

“Our document provides the Indian authorities with a fully-fledged response to the Eurofighter offset requirements and spells out inherent and unrivalled benefits for India,” Gerwert maintained.

In this context, he noted that the Eurofighter family was the world’s “largest industrial defence conglomerate” with approximately 400 leading companies associated with the programme, “has the power and the willingness to completely support the Indian defence sector over the decades to come.

Boeing said it would discharge its offsets obligations through “a formidable industrial line-up that includes 16 leading aerospace and defence companies with combined revenues of over $454 billion, and its 37 Indian partners in the public and private sectors.

“We are already establishing the groundwork that will lead us to success in this large undertaking through early engagement of Indian industry, both public and private,” said Vivek Lall, Boeing Integrated Defence Systems vice president and India country head.

“Boeing’s proposal firmly supports the Indian government’s goal of a vibrant indigenous aerospace industry. It also foresees India playing a key role in enhancing Boeing’s global competitiveness and growth through a series of strategic partnerships with Indian industries,” a company statement said.

“The Boeing Company has been, and will continue to be, a true partner to India,” said Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft.

“To that end, our IP (industrial participation) proposal draws upon the company’s vast pool of human talent, technical expertise and aerospace and defence resources, to both support India’s defence modernization drive and to help spur growth of a world-class Indian aerospace industry,” Chadwick added.

Lockheed Martin said that as the world’s “leading performer of successful offset programmes”, it “has a long history of delivering on commitments. Lockheed Martin has established four F-16 production lines outside of the United States”.

“Lockheed Martin is committed to working with our industrial partners and Indian defence industry to develop long-term, high-value projects that bring technology and sustainable business to India,” said Orville Prins, Lockheed Martin’s business development vice president.

“Partnering with Lockheed Martin provides India the opportunity to develop advanced defence technologies, manufacturing capabilities and defence systems.

“Additionally, India will benefit by leveraging the strength of the F-16IN industrial team, which includes many of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, all ready to work with Indian industry in developing world-class aerospace and defence technologies,” Prins added.

“No other operational multi role strike fighter in the world today will compare to the F-16IN proposed by Lockheed Martin,” said Prins.

“The F-16IN will be a unique configuration of the F-16, designed to address every requirement specified in India’s RFP. The F16 is already the most reliable, maintainable, affordable and safest multi role fighter in the world. The F-16IN will be even better,” he added.

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