India To Announce New Fighter In November

by: Matthew Potter
October 25, 2011

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, D'Assault, development program, Events, India, MiG, Military Aviation, production program, Proposal, SAAB, Services | RSS 2.0

The Indian Government yesterday stated that it had completed their evaluation of the offset reports submitted by the two bidders for their new fighter program. This will allow Eurofighter and Dassault to submit their final offers with a goal of announcing the winner in November.

The two Western European companies were chosen from among a total of six offerors to go on in the contest after a series of evaluations earlier this year. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), MiG and SAAB had also proposed aircraft but their proposals were knocked out after a series of reviews and flight demonstrations.

Since Brazil’s contest for a similar combat aircraft has seemed to stall the Indian contract is one of the largest foreign sales available at about $10 billion and became very important as the U.S. and Europe plan to reduce their defense spending. With the U.S. focusing on the F-35 from Lockheed and countries like Great Britain, Germany and France ending their buys of the Eurofighter there has been little sales for other fighters. The Dassault Rafael and SAAB Gripen have not found another user other then the home nation as well which put pressure on them to try and keep their production line going.

The elimination of the two U.S. aircraft was also a surprise as India had been looking to that country for more equipment. This has included purchases of Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and C-17 transports. The choice not to have one of their fighters continue into the next round dealt a blow to the U.S. defense contractors hope of selling more to India.

When the decision is made it will mark the end to an over four year acquisition process with a hope that there will not be any corruption issues as has happened with so many Indian procurement programs in the past. The new fighter is a key component of the upgrading of the capabilities of India.

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