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  #21  
Old 08-15-2010, 01:47 PM
neilay neilay is offline
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Default Decision on multi-billion fighter plane deal may be political

New Delhi: India is now closer to finalising a USD 10 billion contract for 126 fighter aircraft with IAF submitting a report on the flight evaluation of six contenders for the 'mother of all deals', though top sources Thursday said the decision could be "political".

"We have submitted a voluminous report on the performance of the six bidding aircraft for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract. The report is yet to be approved by the Defence Ministry. The performance, cost and political considerations will all be factors in deciding the winning bid," IAF sources said here.

Mission objectives for the aircraft, national security considerations and international relations were cited by the sources as the "political factors" that could determine which way the contract would go.

With the Flight Evaluation Trial (FET) report of the six aircraft in the fray finalised, the Defence Ministry will soon open the commercial bids of the six global fighter jet manufacturers to identify the lowest bid.

American Lockheed Martin F-16IN and Boeing F/A-18, French D'Assault Rafale, European consortium EADS' Eurofighter Typhoons, Swedish SAAB Gripen and Russian MiG-35 are in the fray for the contract for which a tender was floated in August 2007.

"We have gone exactly according to the Request for Proposals (RFP) and have set 643 parameters or Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs) which the aircraft were evaluated against for compliance. We have submitted an objective report on the compliance and non-compliance of the six aircraft," the sources said.

The sources made it clear that the IAF had not created a "merit list" and had only given its reports evaluating each of the aircraft against the ASQRs.

"The process of FET has been so rigorous and meticulous that the trial methodology and report is probably the best in the world and could be a model for other Air Forces for conducting their FETs for their contracts," the sources said.

Noting that none of the aircraft had complied fully with all the parameters set by the IAF, they said there were "varying degrees of compliance and non-compliance" by each of the contenders for the mega deal, estimated to be worth Rs 4,700 crore in Indian currency.

They also refused to comment on the aircraft's suitability for the IAF, but said, "all platforms are top of the line aircraft."

To a query if more number of MMRCA, over and above the 126 stated in the current bids, could be ordered, the sources said the option of going in for an additional number was part of the tender documents, though a decision would be taken on it only after the current deal was through.

http://www.bharatrakshak.com/NEWS/ne...p?newsid=13281
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  #22  
Old 08-15-2010, 05:31 PM
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Default Indian Fighter Downselect Coming

NEW DELHI — With flight trials complete, the downselect process has begun for the six candidate fighters in India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, a competition with a $10 billion-plus payday for providing 126 aircraft.
Opinions vary widely among observers on how long it will take to narrow the field to two finalists from among the MiG-35, Dassault Rafale, EADS Eurofighter, Saab Gripen, Boeing F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin F-16.


Some speculate an announcement might come in just two weeks. Others insist it will take much longer to evaluate the extensive technical reports that the tests have produced. Regardless, a commercial bidding process will follow the announcement. Final selection is to be made by the end of 2011.


Trials included 643 test points. Results are being forwarded as tabulated data without a quantification of the level of compliance achieved, a senior Indian air force official reports. “We have done an objective assessment and are taking into account the needs of national security,” he says. But cost and politics will play a role in the defense ministry’s selection, he acknowledges.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India this year is expected to be followed by a host of inducements, including a large transfer of technology, on behalf of the Rafale.


India has yet to sign the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. that sets limits on what sensitive technology the U.S. will export. It may be signed during President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to India in November.


Beyond informal briefings said to already have taken place, the six manufacturers are to receive a 250-page technical evaluation of how they did. Problems during the trials included the failures of engines and large electromechanical actuation systems.


Meanwhile, the defense ministry has revealed that it will buy 42 more Su-30MKI fighters, with deliveries to unfold between 2014-2018 (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 11). The $4.3 billion deal, which will run through Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., is a top-up order that is to bring the Indian Su-30 inventory to more than 250 aircraft and the number of HAL-assembled versions to close to 200 fighters.


Talks continue with Russia about joint development of the T-50 (or PAK-FA), a fifth-generation fighter developed by Sukhoi. The program is valued at $8 billion. Whether those talks will work to the advantage of the MiG-35 MMRCA fighter candidate is unclear.


http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...elect%20Coming
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  #23  
Old 08-21-2010, 09:27 AM
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Default India Discussing Offsets With Fighter Bidders

Following the Indian air force’s flight evaluation of six Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) candidates, the Indian government is now considering technical offset proposals and beginning discussions with the prospective vendors.

The Lockheed Martin F-16IN, Boeing F/A-18, Dassault Rafale, EADS Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Russian MiG-35 are in the running for the 126-aircraft program.

A European contender was invited to the Indian air force’s head office on Aug. 20 to discuss the flight evaluation and has been invited to the defense ministry to present its offset proposal. The vendor’s team includes all partners associated with the bid, including the airframe manufacturer, weapons suppliers, avionics and engine makers.

The second part of the proposal — commercial offsets — is expected to be opened by April 2011.

“Those that make it to the downselect will be evaluated on the technical report, compliance with transfer of technology and with offsets,” a senior official said.

“Everything depends on the supply chain,” an official involved in the flight evaluations said. “The air force is also aware that it requires good management systems and an auto-diagnostic capability.”

“India needs to pit the lowest bidder against the second lowest bidder — a practice it tends not to follow — to get the best deal,” another official noted. “[There] is no point in deciding on a finalist and beating him further down to size.”

Given the challenges of life-cycle costs, India has made it clear that maintenance support will be essential to the offer.

India Discussing Offsets With Fighter Bidders | AVIATION WEEK
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  #24  
Old 08-21-2010, 09:34 AM
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Default MMRCA BUZZ: MiG-35 Was Never In The Running?


Quick disclaimer: with nothing official on the MMRCA competition available from the Indian government -- at one level, rightly so -- the only available information is hearsay. And I don't think debate about rumours is going to ever affect a professionally managed competition. This is a pot that stirs itself. It could be bang on, it could be totally off. I'm hoping everyone will look at the assertions on their own merit. These are bits of conversations with officers, ex-Chiefs etc over the last few weeks strung together. Ok, let's get down to it.

The overriding sense I get from my sources is this: It is not a question of what chance the MiG-35 has in the MMRCA sweepstakes but whether the MiG-35 ever had a chance in the first place. From the start, it turns out, both the MoD and a controlling section of the IAF have agreed on one crucial thing -- the next aircraft the IAF operated would need to be a truly modern platform that "broke the mould". That was to be the starting point of everything that followed. The IAF's next aircraft needed to be a top-of-the-line aircraft that broke out from the old mould and signalled new things for India in every possible sense: technology, diplomacy, security cooperation, political opportunity, military interoperability, logistical exchange and economics.

As late as mid-2006, a time when there was a breathless guessing game about precisely when the Indian MoD would send out its MMRCA RFP, there were apparently quiet discussions on over whether Moscow could be brought on board and persuaded to stay out of the proposed MMRCA competition. It was suggested that this be made possible through interactions at the highest levels, but first the MoD and IAF needed to figure the feasibility of such a proposal. It is said that the Russian Ambassador to New Delhi at the time was called in for an unofficial discussion on the highly controversial possibility of Russia actually being kept out of the sweepstakes. He was accompanied by Russia's Air Attache. As the IAF expected, the Russian envoy was incredulous. He said there was no way on earth his Russian bosses would ever be persuaded to agree to that. Obviously. A month before that in January 2007 was an important event -- India and Russia finally formalised their joint fifth generation aircraft plan, though actual agreements came later.

In February 2005, Russia had sent a MiG-29M/M2 MRCA to AeroIndia 05. For AeroIndia 07, MiG pulled out all the stops.

In February 2007, the "MiG-35" (actually the MiG-29M2 No. 154, a 17-year-old airframe with blue-painted fins) was officially unveiled to the world at AeroIndia 07 at the IAF's Yelahanka base. Coupled with the bright red and blue thrust-vectored MiG-29OVT, the two aircraft put up a deeply memorable show. But IAF officers who had a chance to check out the aircraft came away very unimpressed. "It is an old aircraft with a few MFDs," one of them said at the time. At the time, it indeed was, but Russia had said it was merely a proof-of-concept platform that would be evolved into a formidable new Fulcrum.

Six months later, on August 28, 2007 -- two days after the MAKS 2007 air show at Zhukovsky (see photo, me and MiG's Stanislav Gorbunov after our sortie) -- the Indian government finally and belatedly issued its long-awaited RFP to six vendors, 211 pages long and delayed ostensibly by the offsets and selection model sections. This probably means nothing, but in all MoD and official acquisition council papers concerning the MMRCA competition since the RFP, the MiG-35 is first in the list of six competitors. As a matter of record, the official order of the remaining competitors is Gripen, F-16, F/A-18, Typhoon, Rafale. A senior IAF officer who was part of a delegation to MAKS 2007 met UAC boss Alexei Fedorov on August 22-23, 2007, and is understood to have had a very "frank chat". Fedorov was told that the Indian government was willing to consider the MiG-35, though its chances were slim, considering the three explicit guiding principals of the selection process, and the two unspoken ones (more on these later). Fedorov is understood to have said that the Russian government was fully aware of the "winds of change" in New Delhi, but was confident that MiG would put up a good fight, politically too.

On a political level, it was conveyed to the Russians that the flagship Russian airplane, the Su-30, was being patronized extensively by India (plans were afoot already then to up orders), and that the MiG-35 was hardly a platform the Russian Air Force itself was interested in.

On March 7, 2008, the Indian government, after prolonged cost negotiations, finally concluded a $964.1-million contract to upgrade the IAF's entire fleet of over 60 MiG-29s (the Indian phase of the upgrade began in June this year). Shortly thereafter, on April 28, 2008, RAC-MiG/Rosoboronexport submitted an MMRCA technical bid for the MiG-35/35D to the MoD, offering a Fulcrum with an improved airframe, new generation avionics and an AESA radar, the Phazotron Zhuk-AE.

In October-December 2008, during evaluations of the MMRCA technical bids, two Russian MiG-29s crashed after critical structural failures of their fins, forcing the Russian Air Force to ground its entire fleet shortly thereafter. Coming as the accidents did so soon after the upgrade contract was concluded, the IAF generated a query, routed through the Russian Air Attache, asking for a full brief on the accidents on why the Russians had been forced to ground their entire fleet. In April 2009, Russia responded, saying there were structural faults in the MiG-29 platform, and that the accidents had been caused as a result of structural failure of the aircraft's fin root ribs. Significantly, the Russians conveyed that a specific "repair scheme" would be included in the March 2008 upgrade manifest. The IAF, however, demanded to know what immediate checks needed to be carried out and requested full accident reports. These were provided. The Russians grounding their entire Fulcrum fleet created a huge stir. Sections of the MoD/IAF debated the possibility of manipulating the entire issue to somehow put the MiG-35 out of the reckoning, but nothing whatsoever in the RFP terms would allow it. Also, by this time, the "guiding principles" as expounded by the MoD had begun to echo like a mantra.

The explicit principles -- first, the IAF's operational needs should be fulfilled. Two, the selection process needed to be competitive and transparent, and finally, that the competition would lead to a legacy leap for Indian industrial capabilities. The unspoken principles -- first, the competition should provide robust leverage to India's multifarious 21st Century political aspirations. And second, as previously stated, the competition needs to break old moulds in every sense to create strategic space for other partnerships.

A former IAF chief, who served during a crucial phase of the MMRCA planning, admits that the competition is a political opportunity that incidentally gives the Indian Air Force a chunky stop-gap to tide over legacy jet phase-outs and delays in the Tejas -- not the other way round. "You can argue ad nauseum about sanctioned strength and squadron strength. The fact is the IAF's requirement is not only much simpler, but much smaller too. As long as the pilots get a top-of-the-line airplane, nobody is complaining. Let the politicians do the politics. That is their job," he says, adding, "The IAF's requirements for a fresh batch of medium fighter jets came at a time when our strategic aspirations were in a state of great flux. It will be an enabler in many ways."

In March 2010, around the time the crucial MMRCA field evaluation trials were winding down, the Indian government exercised options and signed up for 29 additional MiG-29K/KUB shipborne fighters for the Navy at a cost of $1.46-billion, taking its total order to 45 planes. In other words, since the time the IAF first approached the government with a requirement for a quick induction of medium fighters (it wanted to quickly contract for 60-70 more Mirage-2000s at he time), the Indian government has pumped approximately $3.5-billion into procuring MiG-29 platforms or platform related services.

The maximum I could squeeze out from informed sources about the MiG-35's performance in the field evaluation trials is that the platform achieved "average compliance". Areas of poor compliance are said to have occured at the Leh leg (engine related and emmissions issues), avionics exploitation and PGM delivery routines in Russia. The IAF are also said to have been fairly unimpressed with what the Russians had managed to achieve with the aircraft since they first saw it in February 2007. If the MiG-35's performance was average in the trials, they know about it, since the IAF trial team briefed every contending team about their horse's performance after trials concluded. There are more specific details about the MiG-35's performance during the FET, but I was requested not to include those.

The Indian government remains utterly unconvinced of Russia's ability to provide any meaningful industrial package to India as a mandatory part of the MMRCA. The India-Russia relationship is anything but new -- it stretches back 47 years. India has learnt much from Russia, and has been provided the opportunity to cookie-cut airplanes through decades. But when it comes to meaningful industrial collaboration, the Indian government feels the Russians are better at selling and license building, rather than true blue industrial cooperation. And it is not as if there has been no framework for cooperation.

"It is not as though they have not had a chance to deepen their relationship with us industrially. Nobody knows the Indian industrial capability better than the Russians. They have exploited our weaknesses to the hilt for over four decades. But even then their industrial base is in tatters. In my opinion, whatever we can ever get from the Russians, we have already got or are soon to get. To expect anything more is unreasonable," says a former IAF Chief. Apparently, the Indian government also doesn't believe the Russians have anything to offer over and above what the Indians are already signing up for -- the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) will be an ostensibly joint effort.

While the initial Naval MiG-29K deal was too good not to go for (at least in 2004!) and the upgrade of the IAF MiG-29s was something the IAF could postpone but not sidestep, sources say the government has very low confidence in the industrial health of MiG Corporation, tottering as it apparently is from airframe to airframe. Russia's inability to stick to delivery timeframes, especially for MiG Corp, is another spoiler.

A point frequently raised in favour of choosing Russian aircraft is the quality of the Indo-Russian relationship; the fact that Russia has been a faithful friend in times of need/distress. Interestingly, as one Chief pointed out, India has done more than enough to earn Russia's friendship. He says, "Russia has been a time-tested friend in our time of need, but what about the other way round? India has bailed out Russian politicians and leaders time and time again. The MMRCA is also a chance to demonstrate that India is a level partner, and nothing can ever be taken for granted. India is no longer a push-over. I say push-over because there was a time when we undeniably were. In the last decade, there have been instances of flagrant disregard for this so-called partnership. At the same time, we have to be careful about our new prospective relationships. For one thing, the US has an even worse record of reneging on promises."

The same Chief points out that Russians have provided us technology for decades, but we still have a highly flawed, delayed indigenous fighter program. In other words, the perception is that if the Indian military-industrial complex (read HAL and DRDO) is to blame for India's lack of maturity as an aerospace developer, then Russia is at least as much to blame for not allowing it, but rather remaining content with what has essentially been a buyer-seller relationship. "Let it be recorded at some point, that for every time the Russians have said yes, there has been another time they've said no. And let me also say that this is precisely the sort of scenario you may expect to have with the Americans. The quality of relations with Russia and US may be different, but not in any way that would matter to India's own aspirations. Both countries are similar in more fundamental ways. That is an important thing to be remembered," he says.

Another officer, a Naval aviator this time, had a very evocative phrase to describe where India-Russia relations were: "strategic menopause".

Overall, the sense is that the path taken by the MiG-35 so far in the MMRCA competition needs to be seen in the light of the unspoken guiding principles and what the IAF and MoD originally wanted to persuade the Russians about. If the MiG-35 makes it past any potential downselect, it may be seen as having weathered a great deal to get there, no least a concerted attempt to completely discredit Russian technology by virtually all of the other five contenders in the Indian competition. I've put this post up now, but will be adding more to it over the next couple of days.


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  #25  
Old 09-02-2010, 06:16 AM
neilay neilay is offline
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Default MMRCA BUZZ: What Makes The IAF Nervous About The Americans


An IAF officer I spoke to six months ago to get a sense of how the Indian Air Force perceives partnerships with the United States as a potential outcome of the MMRCA competition, used a simple but strange metaphor to illustrate his opinion. Imagine India on the one side of a deep and wide ravine. Across this wide ravine is a gleaming suspension bridge. It looks great and appears superbly stable -- but in rough weather, there's every chance it will shake. In the past, when India has tried to cross this bridge, it has been forced to quickly retrace its steps midway when the bridge was buffeted by unkind winds that threatened to cast India into the ravine. So now, here's the question. Does the weather ever really change that much?

Two overwhelming notions, especially within the Indian media, over the last four years concerning the MMRCA competition, are, one, the government will choose an aircraft type based on political considerations. And two, since it does so, the Americans will win, since they offer more, on the face it, politically than any other nation. But these fall, indubitably, in the realm of government, and not the Indian Air Force. But while the IAF says it works only with determinables and not the intangibles, it obviously has concerns, many of which dwell in the realm of the political. Some of these concerns come up frequently and are well known. Others are less known and more specific. The idea of this post is to simply provide a consolidated view of perceptions of operating American aircraft.

Let's first get one thing out of the way. There are probably very few in the IAF who believe that the Americans can be beaten on potential technology. Notwithstanding arguments that the two American platforms on offer to India are essentially modernised legacy fighters with little or no modernisation latitude, there is a keen sense that the Americans control what is undeniably among the best aerospace technology in the world. The quality and temperament of sharing is a different matter, and I'll touch upon that later.

The chief cause of nervousness in the IAF regarding any potential hardware from the US is, quite clearly, the potential attendant erosion of autonomy. Nothing in the last six years has changed that perception. The IAF believes the Indian government is rightly skeptical about the CISMOA and BECA agreements, but the end-user verification pact (EUVA) that the two countries finally entered into (even with India's counterdraft accepted) is not something that went down well with the IAF. Crucially, there is a general sense that autonomy will potentially be affected not just as far as operations are concerned, but in other areas as well -- logistics, planning, profiling etc. Here's something even more interesting: One officer suggests that the use of the MMRCA aircraft as strategic deterrent platforms (i.e. nuclear delivery aircraft) is a grey area that could prove almost certainly problematic when dealing with the Americans, or at least more problematic with the Americans than the others. It so happens that the only country that has never questioned India's strategic positioning of its aircraft, are the French (though they have different, equally serious problems). "India may not be Turkey, Egypt of Pakistan, but if you look at any country that operates American aircraft, there has been a period -- sometimes prolonged -- of trouble," says the officer quoted above, adding, "This is something a country like Pakistan can afford, since it has already pledged its strategic future to one nation. But can we?" The fear that the autonomy overhang could affect operational planning is a very real one. A section of the IAF believes South Block is way too hardnosed to buckle to a bad deal -- there's another that believes reluctance to sign the EUVA was merely diplomatic grandstanding that conveniently harnessed the IAF's apprehensions -- and, therefore, that there is every chance the IAF will be saddled with jets it cannot fully use.

A related aspect is operational flexibility. During Kargil, the IAF reportedly did things to some of its Mirage-2000s that would have amounted to serious violations of the Indian government's contract with Dassault. It is understood, but not confirmed, that the French government was quietly engaged after the war and the two sides were able to agree that it was not a problem, and that no penalties would be slapped on the Indian government for what were, in reality, war exegencies, even though it was clear that there had been serious breaches of the technology agreement. The use of US aircraft would be far more potentially restricted and regulated by complex rules, legalese and guidelines. It's not that the IAF isn't used to this sort of thing. It's just that there's likely to be exponentially more to pore over before scrambling an American jet from an Indian base. Here's another point: Buying and operating US aircraft, some in the IAF believe, would "completely subvert" one of the most deeply entrenched "ways" of doing things in India -- using a generous dose of improvisation. "Will the American be fanatically remote controlling with India as well? It is hard to say," says the officer quoted above.

Next, of course, trust. Reliability and trust are major issues, and this has little do with any sort of hangover of the 1998 post-Shakti sanctions. An influential quarter in the IAF feels the US has not qualitatively demonstrated that it is a sincere partner, especially when it comes to India's indigenous programmes. In 1998, US sanctions dealt a death blow, or nearly so, to several Indian weapon and weapon platform programmes, including the country's missile programme, light combat aircraft, NCW technologies and other critical programmes. But little has actually changed. While the US is happy to sell India billions of dollars worth of hardware, it is suspiciously and conspicuously unreliable even now when it comes to indigenous programmes. For instance, the IAF is still wondering why the US government didn't allow Boeing to provide a technological and flight test consultancy to the Tejas programme. Recently, it was revealed that Lockheed-Martin was unable to obtain approvals from the US government to consult for the Naval Tejas programme (both contracts went by default to EADS). The point is, the consultancies were "small-fry contracts that held nothing of advantage to either of the American companies or the government," says a Group Captain. He adds, "Such denials are taken very seriously. What could the possible reason be for the US government to deny two small consultancies? It has not been reported much, so it is forgotten. For the service, it was a jolt. The implications are plain for anyone to deduce." He's right. For all the big-sounding partnership rhetoric that India has gotten used to being bombarded with from Washington, it's the little things that offer a different, decidedly worrying picture for the IAF. Simply put, the perception appears to be this in some quarters -- the Pentagon wants to sell you a lot of souped up Cold War era fighter planes, but doesn't want to tell you how to fine-tune carrier-safe landing gear assemblies. It doesn't want to tell you how to speed up flight trials. It refuses to tell you how to expand the operational envelope of your own in-development fighter platform. The two Tejas consultancy programmes are, incidentally, only two among at least a dozen similar contracts that the US has "won", but failed to act upon as a result of seeming Pentagon/State Department sensitivities. Result: perceptions that the US wants to sell India weapons, and has little interest in any real partnerships that could potentially edge out the need to buy those or similar weapons at a later stage as well.

A dramatic and interesting perception in a certain section of the IAF is that the F-16 Block 60 and F/A-18E/F are excellent fighter platforms, but that it is unlikely that the US will be either a willing or reliable partner as far as ensuring that these aircraft are on the cutting edge throughout their life of 40 years or more. The US government has, on behalf of the plane makers, assured the Indian government -- and will drive it home many more times -- that the future of these two platforms is completely safe. Still, the sense that you won't get the best they have is nowhere more overpowering than it is with the Americans.

Some of these concerns have a greater emphasis than others in ongoing dialogue between the IAF and the MoD, but all figure at various levels without exception. It must be said that there is, at the same time, a powerful section within the IAF -- with compelling arguments of its own on all the concerns listed above -- that the only way the IAF can make its next aerospace leap, is with technology from the United States, and that any other, would be a compromise on such a valuable opportunity to shift away from rusty strategic predilections of the past.

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  #26  
Old 09-16-2010, 05:16 PM
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Default Russian Air Force Chief Inquires About MiG-35 Biting Dust In MMRCA


Russian Air Force chief Colonel-General Alexander Zelin, who was in India last week on a five day official visit, is understood to have asked his Indian counterpart, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, on a personal level about reports, many of these in Russia, that the MiG-35 was out of contention in India's MMRCA fighter competition. Air Chief Naik is said to have assured the Russian general that there had been no eliminations in the competition so far, and that there was no question of the MiG-35 being "eliminated" at this stage. The Russian general is understood to have conveyed that he was concerned about the reports since it showed that there was a concerted negative campaign to oust the MiG-35 from the competition. The general was assured that the trial team from RAC-MiG had been given an extensive brief on their aircraft's performance in the field evaluation trials, and that there was no question of opacity in the matter.

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Old 09-18-2010, 06:47 PM
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Default Defence ministry goes slow on downlisting firms for aircraft deal

New Delhi: Despite getting gentle nudges from the government, the defence establishment does not seem to be ready for an early downlisting of the $10-billion 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract in which companies from the US, France and Russia are in the race. Sources told FE, “The field trial report of the six contenders has been sent to the director-general acquisition’s office, who is expected to make recommendations and send it to the defence acquisition council (DAC) of the ministry of defence (MoD).”


“The DG’s recommendations will not only be based on the field trial report but will also take into consideration the evaluation of the offset proposals of the six contenders. The Offset Technical Committee in the defence ministry has already initiated the process of evaluating the offset proposals,” sources added.


They went on to clarify that they are under no pressure to downselect contenders prior to the visit of the US President Barack Obama, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni and the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.


American companies, Lockheed Martin F-16IN, Boeing F/A-18, French Dassault Rafale, EADS Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Russian MiG-35 are in the running for the 126 aircraft deal which is expected to replace the ageing MiG-21s. According to sources, “Vendors who are compliant rule wise, Defence Procurement Policy and Technical offsets will ultimately be opened for consideration. Also, the lowest bidder, designated L1, will be selected as the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA)."


Once the contenders receive the evaluation of the Offset Technical Committee, the contenders for the MMRCA will give fresh offset proposals. After that, fresh recommendations will be sent to the defence ministry. Once the Cabinet Committee on Security gives the nod, negotiations between governments will begin, which could start early next year, sources added.



The contenders have being invited to submit their offset plans and the IAF will meet different contenders to discuss flight evaluation reports once the field trials are complete. It may be noted that the IAF is considering “life-cycle costs” and not just the lowest bid for the MMRCA. The contract entails acquisition of 18 aircraft to be bought off-the-shelf and the rest to be manufactured in India under transfer of technology.
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  #28  
Old 10-02-2010, 05:12 PM
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Default How GE's Tejas MK-II Win Affects The MMRCA. Or Doesn't.

In a little over two months from now, the Indian Ministry of Defence will approve the Indian Air Force's field trial evaluation report and begin commercial negotiations with what the IAF hopes will be a downselected list of vendors. Remember, the IAF has not explicitly indicated a downselect, leaving it to the MoD to understand this from the level of compliance index.

Now, there's an overwhelming sense that India's selection of the GE F414 engine makes things much, much clearer about the MMRCA competition, and narrows things down considerably. For clarity's sake, variants of the F414 power the Boeing F/A-18 IN Super Hornet and the next generation Saab Gripen IN, while the Eurojet EJ200 -- which lost to GE in the Tejas MK-II competition -- powers the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The logic was always compelling. A dedicated licensed engine production line in the country for the Tejas MK-II would provide robust economy of scale advantages and funnel down the contenders in the MMRCA. That's how it probably should happen, but will it? Another matter altogether. Some scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: At least six IAF officers I spoke to suggested that it would be wrong to connect the Tejas MK-II and the MMRCA on too many levels. One of them suggested that the two deals were mutually exclusive, with a sharp line dividing the two -- in other words, the decision on one had no way of influencing the other. Therefore, in this scenario, the GE F414 selection provides no tangible advantages, going forward in the MMRCA, to the F/A-18 and Gripen NG, even though those advantages would normally shout loud. When I asked an Air Marshal, formerly at Eastern Air Command HQ, how this could be justified -- considering how it goes headlong against the economies of scale notion -- he said, "You must understand that each deal is a leverage in itself. The government can choose to draw connections and give the country the most effective deal. Or it could keep everything separate and leave all options open for maximum leverage. In my understanding, the government would not hand GE an automatic victory in the MMRCA as a default result of the Tejas MK-II selection. That is not how things happen in India." The other crucial point here is: if the GE victory wasn't politically premeditated, then there exists no procedural route for the Tejas MK-II engine selection to be taken into account in a potential MMRCA downselect. In other words, if the MMRCA is sticking unflinchingly to the RFP (as the Indian Defence Minister recently stated in Washington, and reiterated yesterday by Air Marshal NAK Browne, the IAF's Western Command chief), then GE's win would/could have no direct bearing on the MMRCA downselect simply because there is no official route for it to do so. The last critical point: the F414 engine that will be built in India under tech-transfer, will be a modified engine for the Tejas. If an F414-powered airplane happens to be selected in the MMRCA, then it is likely that there will be two lines, or a fork in the main line.

SCENARIO 2: The opposite scenario. Here, the government decides that a dedicated GE F414 engine line in the country means it makes sense to narrow down the selection based on the economies of engine scale logic. In other words, you have the Gripen going against the Super Hornet in the MMRCA finals.

SUB-SCENARIO 2 (a) But there are important points to remember here to: two extravagantly different aircraft, same engine in different configurations. The US government would obviously support the F/A-18, and GE would clearly prefer the F/A-18, since it's American and a twin-engine platform, so it means double the number of engines sold by GE as compared to the number it would sell if India chose the Gripen. In this scenario, the GE F414 economies of scale and political considerations would push the F/A-18 to the top of the list.

SUB-SCENARIO 2 (b) In this scenario, the government decides it already has economies of scale, and pushes the Gripen forward as a perceived compromise: the cheaper aircraft, with American engine and weapons. The US cannot exercise export licensing controls on the Gripen's GE engine since each vendor had to submit a signed affidavit before field trials that all systems listed in their bid documents were available, and needed no further approvals from any government. Remember, the IAF has said it won't choose a twin-engine aircraft in the MMRCA, if a single-engine aircraft can "do the job", i.e, is satisfactorily compliant on all 643 test points that each of the six airplanes were tested for during the field evaluation trials (FETs). But now it's up to the MoD.

SCENARIO 3: In this scenario, the GE victory in the Tejas MK-II engine competition, has a reverse effect on the MMRCA, and pushes the Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale and F-16 (the MiG-35 is all but officially confirmed to be out) to the top of the pile, since alternate engines provide their own leverage. Scenarios 2 & 3 are of course assuming the government won't look at the Tejas MK-II and the MMRCA as "two watertight compartments" as an officer put it.

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  #29  
Old 10-04-2010, 06:10 PM
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Default India's fighter-jet program soars past Japan's

[COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]India[/color][/color]
and Japan are both in the process of procuring a new frontline fighter aircraft that will see them through to the middle of this century. They may even end up buying the same airplane. That, however, is where the similarity ends.

The circumstances in which the two countries are conducting their fighter procurements could hardly be more different. A buoyant India has breezed into the marketplace, while Japan still hovers unsurely by the gate, dithering over what it's actually come here to buy. The nub of the difference is that the Indian selection is not constrained by politics - they have a free hand with which to buy the best plane under the best possible terms. The Japanese decision, by contrast, is severely circumscribed by political considerations, both domestic and international.

The plane-builders of the world have converged on India like love-struck suitors; the object of their desire is a US$10 billion contract for 126 planes, with possibly more to follow, as well as favored access to more of the $80 billion that India will spend on defense kit in the next five years.

So often dysfunctional in its approach to defense procurement, India has got this one right. The Indian Air Force set out a clear vision of its requirement: a medium multirole fighter aircraft (MMRCA) that can match anything [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]flying[/color][/color] today bar the US's stealthy F-22 Raptor. This plane will provide a capable deterrent against Chinese and Pakistani threats until the more advanced "fifth-generation" fighter being jointly developed with Russia is ready from 2020 onwards.

Suppliers respond to this kind of customer clarity, and six of them entered the race, each desperate to secure what is the biggest defense contract currently on offer anywhere. This has given the Indians exceptional bargaining power, not least because they have made it abundantly clear that all six contenders have a genuine chance of winning - if they are willing to meet New Delhi's demanding conditions.

On the face of it, India has strong political reasons to favor one of the two US suppliers - Boeing and Lockheed Martin - as ties between Washington and New Delhi continue to warm. President Barack Obama will stress these political incentives when he doorsteps India, model planes in his briefcase, in November. Yet sources close to the competition suggest that the American aircraft did not shine in the Indian Air Force's technical evaluation, that they compare poorly on cost, and that their promised level of [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]technology[/color][/color] transfer is underwhelming. ''We need to get full technology transfer: India will not budge on that issue,'' says Arun Sahgal, of India's [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]United[/color][/color] Services Institute. ''Some of the bidders need to bring their prices down and offer a lot more than license manufacturing''.

America's rivals are fighting hard. Sahgal describes Swedish company Saab's offering of full technology transfer as ''phenomenal''; the Eurofighter Typhoon is understood to be highly rated by Indian decision-makers; and Russia, a long-time Indian defense partner, is also seen as a safe backup option with its MiG-35. The point is that the US - just like other hopefuls - must offer India a genuinely excellent deal if it wants to secure this contract, not merely hold out vague prospects of American friendship.

As the Indian competition glides towards a verdict (expected by June 2011), Japan's fighter procurement remains stalled on the tarmac. After repeated delays, Japanese business leaders had been talking up the prospect of [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]Tokyo[/color][/color] finally issuing the long-delayed request for proposals for its future fighter program, dubbed F-X, this October.

Issuing the request for proposal (RfP) now could have led to a decision being made in a year's time and the first aircraft touching down in around 2016.

But it's not going to happen. The government – itself in a state of constant flux – is currently rethinking the country's National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG); the update is due for publication in December. This ought not to have interfered with the F-X RfP. Japan has a fleet of 40-year-old F-4s that it desperately needs to replace: these will soon be fit for scrap whatever Japan's new defense policy says. However, the F-X programme has fallen victim to Japan's wider political malaise. The Ministry of Defense declined to say when the RfP would finally emerge, but it now looks like being 2011 at the earliest.

More serious is the fact that, as the NDPG review implies, Japan is in a strategic tangle. Pacifist inclinations jar with geostrategic reality: Tokyo understands the arguments in favor of adopting a more assertive defense posture, but is paralyzed by the weight of its historical baggage and by its ultra-conservative political culture.
Now, it is poised to make all the wrong choices when it procures its new fighter. Despite emphasizing, like India, the importance of technology transfer and the need for local industry involvement, it may end up securing neither. Its requirement of only 40 or 50 F-X fighters does not create the economies of scale needed to set up a local production line, and Tokyo is in no position, like India, to demand extensive technology transfer and bargain prices.

Remarkably, only three contenders have shown a clear interest in the Japanese competition: two US firms and Eurofighter. The Eurofighter Typhoon is in many ways the strongest proposition: twin-engine (and so a good bet for maritime patrol duties) and better at the air-superiority duties that Japan needs its F-X fighter to fulfill, it would also offer local industry participation.

But any technical and industrial strengths will most likely be overridden by political prerogatives. ''Japan will go for a US airframe, it's that simple,'' says Christopher Hughes, professor of international studies and Japanese politics at Warwick University. ''There won't be a hard-headed analysis: it will buy US for alliance reasons.''

The American options are Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet – a single-engine multirole fighter that perhaps struggles to meet Tokyo's need for a twin-engine, air-superiority jet – and Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, an expensive choice that is still under [COLOR=green ! important][COLOR=green ! important]development[/color][/color] and which could only be supplied to Tokyo off the shelf.

Certainly, neither US alternative is strong enough to render the European proposition uncompetitive - were it not for Japan's hard-wired aversion to turning its back on the US alliance, even at great cost to itself. The near-certainty of an American selection explains why only one non-US firm has thrown its hat into the ring.

The lack of competition can only be bad for the Japanese taxpayer and also for the Japanese military, if it does not end up with the aeroplane that it really needs. Nonetheless, political prejudice, not defense requirements, will steer Tokyo's decision.

In the final analysis, Tokyo expects to pay up to $10 billion for 40 or 50 F-X aircraft: the same budget that New Delhi has set aside for 126 jets of similar capability. You don't have to be a top gun to figure out who's getting a good deal.

http://www.bharatrakshak.com/NEWS/ne...p?newsid=13528
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  #30  
Old 10-04-2010, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilay View Post
dude.....we are already buying 230 su-30mki....over buying will mean too much depending on one aircraft only....also spare parts problem is may be one of the reason....
India has license to manufacture MKI including all spare parts and they do at HAL's facilities in Nasik and Bangalore.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
India has license to manufacture MKI including all spare parts and they do at HAL's facilities in Nasik and Bangalore.
i am not just talking about aircraft parts...even parts for radars-AESA are to be brought from russia- otherwise we could produce as many aircrafts we want why sign contracts with them.....
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  #32  
Old 10-09-2010, 07:12 AM
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Default India to finalise $12 bn fighter jets contract by July,6

NEW DELHI: India, which is racing to upgrade its military, is likely to hand out a 12-billion-dollar contract for 126 fighter jets by July 2011, the country's air force chief said on Friday.

Six global aeronautical companies are in a dogfight to grab the deal to sell 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) to the Indian Air Force, which is also shopping for up to 270 Russian-designed Sukhoi war jets .

"We had submitted the MMRCA report with the defence ministry on July 30 and if everything goes of well, then the contract should be signed by July 30 next year," air chief marshall P.V. Naik said, the Press Trust of India reported.

India issued the request for proposals to the six short-listed firms in August 2007 and the long-awaited trials of the aircraft competing for the world's most lucrative fighter jet contract began last year.

US-based Lockheed Martin, offering F-16, and Boeing's F-18 "Superhornet" emerged as the front-runners following the gruelling trials, industry sources have said.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company has offered its Typhoon Eurofighter and French Dassault, which constructs the Mirage, has put forward its Rafale.

Russian manufacturers of the MiG-35 and MiG-29, as well as Sweden's Saab, which is hawking its Gripen fighter, are also in the running for the biggest fighter jet contract in 16 years.

The contract includes the outright purchase of 18 fighter jets by 2012 with another 108 to be built in India.

India would also have an option to buy 64 more such jets.

Air chief marshall Naik's announcement came a day after Moscow and New Delhi unveiled plans to co-develop 250-300 advanced stealth fighter jets for military technology-hungry India.

Aviation experts say the 30-ton Russian-designed planes could cost up to 100 million dollars each.


http://www.bharatrakshak.com/NEWS/ne...p?newsid=13557
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  #33  
Old 10-19-2010, 07:13 AM
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Default French Defence Chief On The Rafale


Was at a press event with visiting French Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Édouard Guillaud, this evening. Apart from a lot of questions on Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean, the Admiral responded to a question about the MMRCA competition by saying, "I am not going to raise the curtain on any specific discussions. Of course it is preferable that India operates the same equipment as us. It would contribute to better interoperability. The Rafale is one of the finest fighter jets in the world right now. India has purchased Mirage-2000s in the past, which continue to be some of the best fighter-bombers in the world. We have always been on India's side strategically."

Admiral Guillaud will also be visiting the Mazagon Dock in Mumbai tomorrow, the yard where India is in the process of license building six Scorpene-class submarines. The long-pending contract to upgrade the Indian Air Force's Mirage fleet stands to be concluded and signed when President Sarkozy visits early December.



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Old 10-20-2010, 05:38 AM
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Default Scrap the MMRCA, buy US F-35s

Given the global buzz around the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) ongoing $10-billion procurement of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), my suggestion to scrap the process and, instead, go in for a straight buy of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightening II fighters is admittedly radical. But consider this: when the F-35 enters service, a couple of years from now, it will comfortably outclass every one of the six fighters that the IAF is currently evaluating. Thereafter, through the entire 30-40 year service life of the selected MMRCA, the IAF will fly a second-rung fighter when it could have gotten the best.


The six fighters that the IAF has flight-tested over the last year — Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet; Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper; Dassault’s Rafale; the Russian MiG-35; the Swedish Saab Gripen NG; and the Eurofighter — are categorised, even by their manufacturers, as Fourth Generation fighters. In contrast, the F-35 is globally acknowledged as a Fifth Generation fighter. The key to its superiority is stealth, making it effectively invisible to radar at longer ranges. This is a battle-winning advantage in aerial combat, where radars are the only way of “seeing” the enemy; the F-35 will detect enemy fighters and launch missiles at them, well before being detected. While attacking ground targets in enemy territory, the F-35 will remain undetected until it is too late to react. Unsurprisingly, each Fifth Generation fighter is the battlefield equivalent of three-four previous generation aircraft.



Since the IAF knows all this, why is the F-35 not in the MMRCA contest? Because, while framing the specifications for the 126-fighter tender in 2003, the IAF set the bar so low that the F-35 was overqualified. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), still nursing a hangover from the Tehelka sting expose, wanted to avoid potential controversy by having several vendors competing for the MMRCA order. Had the IAF been allowed to keep the long-term in mind, and to demand Fifth Generation capabilities, only the F-35 would have met the tender requirement. With that single-vendor situation an MoD bugaboo, the IAF'’s specifications were dumbed down to bring in a clutch of Fourth Generation fighters.


When Lockheed Martin — one of the four vendors that received inquiries from the IAF in 2003-04 — studied the requirement, it offered the F-16 Super Viper, which it estimated met India’s requirements. Offering the overqualified, and pricier, F-35 made little business sense: India’s procurement rules give no credit for exceeding the tender requirements. The Defence Procurement Procedure mandates that the cheapest of the vendors that meets the technical requirements automatically wins a contract.


Price was just one reason for offering the F-16. With the F-35’s prototype not even having flown then (it first flew in 2006), Lockheed Martin knew that the F-35 would not be available for flight-testing in the time frame that the IAF wanted. Senior IAF officers believe that Lockheed Martin made a strategic decision: to field the F-16 in the MMRCA competition; and later offer the F-35 as a Fifth Generation fighter, a logical follow-on to the F-16. But that offer (which officials confirm was made to the IAF later) was a non-starter: India had decided to partner Russia in jointly developing the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).


Today, much has changed. The F-35 programme has moved into its production phase and will be flying operationally soon. Senior Lockheed Martin officials confirm that the US is more than keen to sell India the F-35. Meanwhile, a more confident MoD has demonstrated — through its single-vendor purchases of the C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft — that it has the political courage to buy American systems when they clearly outclass the competition.
Senior IAF officers, serving and retired, make two arguments against the F-35. Accepting that the F-35 far outclasses the other MMRCA contenders, they apprehend that scrapping the MMRCA purchase risks losing several years that the MoD will surely take for fresh evaluations and financial sanctions for buying the F-35.


This logic does injustice to the MoD, which has demonstrated in the C-130J and C-17 procurements that it is capable of acting decisively. Having shed its post-Kargil, Pakistan-centric mindset, and focusing on building credible offensive-defence capabilities against China, surely the MoD will not spend $10 billion on fighters that will be outclassed with the inevitable appearance of Chinese Fifth Generation fighters over the Himalayas.


The other IAF concern is that, with the F-35 still under development, there is little clarity on when it will become available or on what terms. But the announcement last week of Israel’s purchase of 20 F-35s (with another 75 likely to follow) has dispelled much of the mist. Israel, which is not even one of the nine countries that funded the F-35 development, will be buying the fighters for $96 million each under the Foreign Military Sales programme, for not much more than the Rafale’s and Eurofighter’s estimated cost. Israel will get its F-35s between 2015 and 2017; several of the MMRCA contenders will need as long.


Significantly, defence analysts believe that Israel has obtained Washington’s okay to integrate a variety of Israeli sensors and weaponry onto the F-35. The US has long resisted this since it involves passing on software source codes to the Israelis. With an order of 126-200 fighters, India too could demand this important concession.


Given India’s deteriorating security environment, it must build a Fifth Generation air force, one that will remain the pre-eminent power in South Asia the next two decades. The Fifth Generation heavy fighter already in the works, in partnership with Russia, will only enter service towards the end of the decade. In the medium fighter segment, a Fifth Generation fighter is as essential, with strategic balance maintained by importing from the US. For obvious political reasons, the initiative to scrap the MMRCA and go in for the F-35 must come from the IAF; and the MoD must assure them of minimal delay.




http://www.bharatrakshak.com/NEWS/ne...p?newsid=13624
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:54 AM
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  #36  
Old 10-21-2010, 08:07 AM
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Thanks Neilay for the post on missiles..
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks Neilay for the post on missiles..

you welcome bro....!!
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:45 PM
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Default Boeing confident with Indian Super Hornet bid

Boeing is optimistic it will make the shortlist for India's medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement in 2011 with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, says Rick McCrary, capture team manager for its Defense, Space & Security business unit.


With India having completed in-country flight evaluations of the six candidate airframes, McCrary believes a shortlist will be issued next year to narrow the field, most likely after the Aero India air show in Bangalore.


"I think it will be the heavy twins," he says, referring to the Super Hornet and rival offers with the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and RSK MiG-35. "They're looking for more serious medium combat aircraft, in weight and performance," he says.


Lockheed Martin and Saab are also pursuing the MMRCA contract offering their single-engined F-16IN and Gripen NG designs.
The Indian air force is seeking an initial 126 aircraft, with an option for 50% more at the same unit price, but McCrary says the service could eventually need up to 400 of the winning design. "They've got a huge air force, but it's ageing," he notes.


Deliveries will start within 36 months of a contract award, which is expected to be made in 2012. The first 18 aircraft will be completed by the successful bidder before final assembly and manufacturing responsibilities are progressively transferred to India. "This is a 20-year programme," McCrary notes.


In the case of Boeing, the company would first transfer final assembly and test of the Super Hornet for India from its St Louis site in Missouri and then "work back from there."


McCrary says New Delhi's recent selection of GE Aviation's F414 engine - which also powers the Super Hornet - for the MkII version of its Tejas light combat aircraft could help Boeing's bid for MMRCA. "We think they're disconnected, but would certainly like to think there's some synergy there."
Boeing also continues to answer requests for information about the Super Hornet from the United Arab Emirates about its new fighter requirement. France is also pursuing a proposed sale of its Rafale to the UAE's air force.


http://www.bharatrakshak.com/NEWS/ne...p?newsid=13629
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  #39  
Old 10-21-2010, 08:57 PM
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Again a good news for India.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:17 PM
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Default Eurofighter Supervisory Board's First Visit To Delhi




Eurofighter Statement:
The Supervisory Board of Eurofighter GmbH is meeting in New Delhi for the first time. CEOs from Eurofighter partner companies (EADS, BAE Systems and Alenia Aeronautica) are visiting New Delhi from 25th to 26th October 2010. The Supervisory Board will support the ongoing Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) campaign and propose to the potential Indian partners additional opportunities for industrial and technological cooperation. In photo, from L-R, CEO Cassidian Spain Enrique Barrientos, Managing Director Typhoon Mission Support & International Programmes of BAE Systems Christopher Boardman, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eurofighter GmbH and CEO of EADS subsidiary Cassidian Air Systems Bernhard Gerwert, CEo Eurofighter GmbH Enzo Casolini and Senior Vice President Commercial Defence Aircraft of Alenia Aeronautica Maurizio de Mitri.


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