Eurofighter consortium offers India manufacturing partnership with Typhoon offer

The Eurofighter consortium is ready to offer India a manufacturing role, as the race to supply 126 jet fighters worth $11 billion to New Delhi intensifies.

Speaking at the Bangalore air show yesterday, Bernhard Gerwert, chairman of Eurofighter's supervisory board, said the manufacture of the aircraft would have to be ''rebalanced'' to meet India's requirements, if it chose to become part of what he called ''the Eurofighter family''.

''All of the partners will have to reduce content in Europe and shift to India,'' he said. Gerwert envisages India emerging as a ''new industrial partner'' to join the 400 European companies that make the Eurofighter.

The offer would allow Indian companies to become ''significant manufacturing and engineering'' partners contributing to the future development of the aircraft in concert with companies such as Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and EADS.

Gerwert projects the creation of as many as 20,000 jobs in India from the move.

According to industry analysts, the emphasis on industrial partnership is a measure of the importance of the deal to the future of the Typhoon following spending cuts introduced by European governments.

The consortium is intensifying efforts in persuading New Delhi to opt for the largest military collaboration in Europe as the hard fought contest draws to a climax.

Eurofighter is in competition against Saab's JAS-39 Gripen, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault's Rafale, Lockheed's F-16 Super Viper and Russia's MiG-35 in one of the world's biggest current military contracts by offering their own offset, transfer of technology and price incentives.

PV Naik, head of the Indian Air Force, said he expected the decision in the matter to taken by September