NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian Air Force has zeroed in on French company Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and European consortium EADS's Eurofighter Typhoon as its choice of fighter aircraft for India’s big ticket medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal.
According to a report in the Times Now news channel, the IAF, which submitted its flight trials evaluation report to the Defence Ministry late last month, has recommended Rafale and Typhoon fighters, eliminating other four contenders from the list.
Interestingly, France’s Rafale was initially out of the MMRCA deal as Dassault did not provide the required information on some equipment and add-ons that the IAF wanted. The fighter later made its reentry as a contender after a decision by the Defence Procurement Board to allow the aircraft to take part in the flight trials.
With the IAF’s recommendations, those who now seem to have lost out in the race include US defence major Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Russian United Aircraft’s MiG-35 and Swedish SAAB’s Gripen.
According to the news channel, IAF in its report has said that the Russian fighters have fallen out because their engines have “failed to impress” while the F-16s have “no future”.
Another reason for choosing the two fighters is also political, according to the news report. “We regard India as a strategic security partner and this is why we do not insist on an end user monitoring agreement period.” the report quoted German ambassador Thomas Matussek as saying.
India had last year inked the End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) with the US which stipulated physical inspection of defence equipment and technology sold to India by the US.
After the IAF recommendations, the ball is now in the Defence Ministry's court to take the call on the $10.4 billion defence deal.