New Delhi: The defence minister has made a definitive announcement stating that the country's defence acquisition committee (DAC) will meet in the coming 15 days and clear the long awaited Request for Proposal for the Indian Air Force's (IAF) medium range multi role combat aircraft (MRCA).
Though there has been many a slip between the lip and the cup before, as far as this particular proposal is concerned, if the RFP is finally issued then it will become India's biggest ever international defence tender. It goes without saying that this is a tender that the global defence majors and governments have been waiting for a long time. (See: The IAF's MRCA contract: Fades into the blue…)
The RFP is for the purchase of 126 multi-role combat aircraft, which will try and shore up the IAF's dwindling fighter strength. Reportedly, the air force's fighter squadron strength has dwindled from a required 45, to a low of 32 over the years.
"The DAC will be meeting within a fortnight and decide on the RFP. All negotiations are over and now it is a question of formalities," the minister told reporters, emerging after addressing the Combined Commanders conference.
Six global defence majors are bidding for the Indian MRCA deal, which according to industry analysts, could run up to anything between $6-9 billion, at current rates, over its life time.
In the race, are US aircraft manufacturers, Lockheed Martin with its F/A-18 Hornet (See video: Ricardo Traven, Chief Test Pilot - F/A-18 Programs, The Boeing Company) and Boeing with its F/A-16 Falcon, the European consortium with its Eurofighter Typhoon, Sweden's SAAB with its Gripen (See video: Richard Ljunberg, test pilot, SAAB), and the Russian Aircraft Corporation with its MiG-35 (See video: Alexey I Fedorov, President, United Aircraft Corporation, Russia). Dassault Aviation has stayed on the sidelines with its Rafale, though it may step into the ring after the RFP is issued (See video: Yves Robins, Senior Vice-President, External Relations and Corporate Communication, Dassault Aviation).
also see : Richard
Ljunberg, test pilot, SAAB
I Fedorov, President, United Aircraft Corporation, Russia
Robins, Senior Vice-President, External Relations and Corporate Communication,