London: Global defence and aerospace major, BAE Systems, is gearing up to compete with other leading combat jet manufacturers in the world to secure orders from India and Japan that may eventually be worth up to $15 billion.
With both the Indian and Japanese Governments due to decide on replacements for their ageing fighter fleets, defence companies are accordingly positioning themselves to secure lucrative contracts.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is due to place orders for 126 fighter aircraft that are intended to replace its ageing MiG-21/23/27 fleet, in a deal estimated to be worth up to $11 billion over its lifetime. The IAF has already issued a request for information (RFI) to American company Lockheed Martin for its F-16 and Boeing for its F-18, the Russian Aircraft Corporation for its MiG-35, the Swedish company SAAB for its Gripen and French company Dassault for the Rafale fighter.
Japan's Air Self Defence Force intends to replace its force of 91 Mitsubishi/McDonnell Douglas F-4EJ Kais fighters from 2010 onwards, under its FX fighter programme. Japan has narrowed its choice down to Boeing's F-15FX and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault's Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
BAE Systems had earlier secured a UK1 billion pound worth deal from India for the sale of Hawk advance jet trainers, and is now interested in selling the Eurofighter Typhoon, of which it is a consortium partner, to both countries.
A BAE spokesperson said that the company, on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, is leading activity to position the Typhoon in Japan to meet their FX fighter requirement.
"We are also aware that India has a requirement for 126 multi-role combat aircraft. We await details of what the Indian air force requires and Eurofighter will respond accordingly," she said.