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Americans fly out, Europeans home in on IAF's $11-bn fighter tender news
28 April 2011

New Delhi: The Indian ministry of defence (MoD) has apparently asked the four-nation, three-company European consortium Eurofighter and the French Dassault Aviation to extend the validity of their commercial bids, which are due to expire today, in a clear indication that both have been short-listed as finalists for the protracted Indian Air Force (IAF) $11 billion medium range, multi-role, combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract for 126 jets. The invitation to extend the bids has been issued solely to these two companies out of six international companies that were in the fray.

Though there is no confirmation from the ministry about the development, the cat is out of the bag as one of the losing contenders, the Swedish Saab Gripen, has confirmed that they had been informed by the Indian MoD that their bid was no longer in contention.

"Today defence and security company Saab AB has received information from the Indian ministry of defence that Gripen has not been shortlisted for the Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme," the company said in a statement.

It would be safe to assume that if MoD extended the Swedes the courtesy of informing them that they were out of the race, they would have extended the same courtesy to others.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say that unnamed company sources in the two short-listed European firms have confirmed that the MoD has communicated with them asking them to extend their bids.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is built by a consortium of four countries--UK, Italy, Spain and Germany and three companies the Italian Alenia Aeronautica, the trans-Atlantic ownership BAE Systems and EADS.

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Americans fly out, Europeans home in on IAF's $11-bn fighter tender