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EADS to put fresh bids for IAF's MMRCA


Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft.

BERLIN (PTI): The four-nation European aerospace consortium EADS, which manufactures Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, will submit fresh commercial bids by the end of this month for IAF's 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tenders.

"We will submit new commercial bids for Eurofighter Typhoon in India by June-end. EADS is preparing the bid papers," Enzo Casolini, CEO of Eurofighter Industries Consortium, said here Tuesday.

The new bids are scheduled to be opened around September-end this year but sources said the process is likely to get delayed by a few months.

The validity of the earlier bids submitted by the six contenders for the USD 11-billion 'mother of all deals' had ended in March this year.

The tenders issued in August 2008 had received bids from six global fighter jet manufacturers including EADS in March 2008 and the bids were valid for two years.

The IAF is looking at buying 126 MMRCA to replace its ageing Russian-origin MiG-21 aircraft fleet. The tenders also provided for a further order on the same terms as the current bids for another 67 fighter jets in the near future.

EADS is competing for the IAF deal with US majors Boeing (F/A-18) and Lockheed Martin (F-16IN), Russian MiG RAC (MiG-35), French D'Assault (Rafale) and Swedish SAAB (Gripen).

The IAF had opened the technical bids of the contenders in 2008 and after evaluation of the submits, it had called the six companies for flight and weapon trials of their respective aircraft. The trials in all-weather condition had concluded this April.

However, the commercial bids -- specifying the price of the aircraft, after-sales support, maintenance support and spares -- were yet to be opened.

Since the bids had expired in March, the Defence Ministry returned the commercial bids back to the companies and asked them to either submit a revised documents with revised prices or to resubmit the existing tenders by extending its validity.

Casolini said he was confident Eurofighter would get the contract as his company was offering technology transfer and other sops which, he claimed, was not the case with the American companies.

He listed political support and relationship with the buyer country as an important component in bagging a contract.

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