8 Oct, 2010, 04.13PM,AGENCIES
India to hand out giant war jet deal to USA.
126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).
US-based Lockheed Martin, offering latest upgraded F-16, and Boeing's F-18 "Superhornet" emerge as the front-runners. Announcement came a day after Moscow and New Delhi unveiled plans to co-develop 300 advanced stealth fighter jets
NEW DELHI: India, which is racing to upgrade its military, is likely to hand out a 12-billion-dollar contract for 126 fighter jets by July 2011, the country's air force chief said on Friday.
Six global aeronautical companies are in a dogfight to grab the deal to sell 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) to the Indian Air Force.
"We had submitted the MMRCA report with the defence ministry on July 30 and if everything goes of well, then the contract should be signed by July 30 next year," air chief marshall P.V. Naik said, the Press Trust of India reported.
India issued the request for proposals to the six short-listed firms in August 2007 and the long-awaited trials of the aircraft competing for the world's most lucrative fighter jet contract began last year.
US-based Lockheed Martin, offering its latest upgraded F-16, and Boeing's F-18 "Superhornet" emerged as the front-runners.
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company has offered its Typhoon Eurofighter and French Dassault, which constructs the Mirage, has put forward its Rafale.
Russian manufacturers of the MiG-35 and MiG-29, as well as Sweden's Saab, which is hawking its Gripen fighter, are also in the running for the biggest fighter jet contract in 16 years.
The contract includes the outright purchase of 18 fighter jets by 2012 with another 108 to be built in India.
India would also have an option to buy 64 more such jets.
Air chief marshall Naik's announcement came a day after Moscow and New Delhi unveiled plans to co-develop 300 advanced stealth fighter jets for military technology-hungry India. Aviation experts say the 30-ton Russian-designed planes could cost up to 100 million dollars each.