a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://bp3.blogger.com/_RRbP6fpJWAc/SB0d1VDvTqI/AAAAAAAAAhY/Rt0adNyK7BA/s1600-h/mrca.png”img style=”margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;” src=”http://bp3.blogger.com/_RRbP6fpJWAc/SB0d1VDvTqI/AAAAAAAAAhY/Rt0adNyK7BA/s320/mrca.png” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5196342347078520482″ border=”0″ //aNEW DELHI – Global aviation giants on April 28 submitted bids to sell 126 warplanes to India – the world’s richest fighter aircraft deal worth $12 billion. Six aeronautical companies from Russia, the United States and Europe offered their proposals to the Indian defense ministry well before an official deadline ended, the companies said.U.S.-based Lockheed Martin said its proposals, which run over 10,000 pages, describe an upgraded version of the F-16 fighter jet. “The F-16IN is a unique configuration of the F-16, designed to address the requirements specified in India’s request for proposals,” said Orville Prins, a Lockheed Martin vice president. “Our proposal also represents a long-term partnership between the air forces of India and the United States and between Indian industry and the F-16 industry team,” he added. Seattle-based Boeing, which is offering F-18 Superhornets, said it submitted its 7,000-page bid on April 24. “One of the concerns here in India is the cost of owning and maintaining combat fighters over their lifetime,” said Vivek Lall, a vice president in Boeing’s military wing. “The Super Hornet offers a very attractive life-cycle-cost dynamic, since the fighter won’t need a scheduled visit to a maintenance depot until it has clocked a minimum of 6,000 hours of flying time, and even well beyond that,” he said in statement. The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), in its 7,000-page submission pushed the Typhoon Eurofighter, saying scores of air forces were flying the multi-role aircraft. EADS suffered a setback in December when India scrapped a $600 million deal for 197 military helicopters from Eurocopter – an unit of the consortium. Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of EADS’ military wing said that the company was ready to meet Indian deadlines. The Indian air force contract includes outright purchase of 18 war jets by 2012 with another 108 of the same planes to be built in India. India also has an option to buy 64 more such jets. Russian manufacturers of MiG-35 and MiG-29, as well as Sweden’s Saab, which is hawking its Gripen fighter, and French Dassault, which constructs the Rafale and Mirage, also handed over bids to the Indian authorities. Dassault has promised to supply 40 Rafale jets on a fast-track basis as part of the deal, while Gripen is offering larger technology transfers.The bids were scheduled to be opened later April 28 for technical evaluation. Army commanders meanwhile began reviewing India’s arms purchase laws which stipulate that foreign firms selling products worth $600 million or more must re-invest 50 percent of the amount to build local manufacturing capacity. New Delhi introduced this clause into all its big defense deals in 2003 as a way of protecting itself from non-delivery and to boost the domestic arms industry. “The commanders’ conference which began today is discussing the merits and de-merits of the policy before it goes for a final revision in June,” a ministry official said. New Delhi called for the war jet bids in August last year as the air force’s operational fighter fleet plunged to a low of 576 aircraft, from nearly 750 in early 2000.

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