India to invite bids for $5 billion fighter jet

Bangalore, November 21:

India will soon invite bids from four global defence majors, including Lockheed Martin of the US and Russia’s MiG corporation, for its programme to buy 126 combat jets worth about $5 billion, the air force chief said here today. “Though the firms have sent details in response to our request for information (RFI), we have not sent the request for proposals (RPFs) yet. We will send them (RFPs) within a month,” Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi said.

The firms in the race for the lucrative deal are Lockheed Martin (with its F-16 jet), MiG RAC of Russia (MiG-29M2), Dassault Aviation of France (Mirage 2000-5) and Gripen of Sweden. Admitting that the F-16 was very much in contention, Tyagi hinted the possibility of buying the jet existed. “No timeframe has been fixed yet, as signing such contracts takes a long time. It is not an ordinary deal but something that costs about $5 billion,” he said.

Once the bids are received, they will be technically evaluated for short-listing, followed by commercial negotiations. Tyagi was speaking on the sidelines of a function where president A P J Abdul Kal-am, the supreme commander of the armed for-ces, presented the presidential standard to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment and presidential colours to the Institute of Aerospace Medicine.


BRUSSELS: The EU was set on Monday to take a big step towards an integrated European defence market as European defence minsist-ries try to get more value for money in their strained budgets. After years of discussions, defence ministers were to sign on to agreement which would encourage governments to gi-ve contracts to the best bid in Europe, shaking up national favou-ritism. — AFP