Sources have revealed on Wednesday that the defense ministry has requested Eurofighter and French Dassault Aviation for extension of the validiy of their commercial bids for a contract of 126 units of combat aircraft, worth a few billion dollars. This could be an indication that they are shortlisted for the mega deal that IAF (Indian Air Force) proposed.
There’s however no clarification regarding the details of this deal. The defense ministry refused to divulge into any interaction with third parties regarding the deal.
The defense ministry had sent certain communications to the two foreign firms, but it came on the eve of expiry of commercial bids of defense majors, who were also involved in the “race”.
Sources said however that the ministry has only written letters to Eurofighter and Rafale, in an attempt to extend the validiy of their commercial offers.
Eurofighter is composed of a consortium of four countries—Italy, Spain, the UK and Germany—Whereas the Rafale is a sole French aircraft developed by Dassault Aviation.
Four other aircraft—the American F-16 and F/A-18, Russian MiG 35 and Swedish Saab Gripen, have also vied with each other for the much awaited deal lasting five tender years.
However, after the communication with the defense ministry, the other four companies will be prohibited in their attempt to extend the validity of their offers. Therefore, their bids will expire tomorrow.
The IAS (Indian Air Force) has evaluated the six defense majors. They’ve been marked on base of their performance in the FET (Field Evaluation Trials). The evaluation has been tested in the fray on 643 parameters.
The IAF Air Chief Marshal P V Naik had made an announcement that the negotiations for the project would start off very shortly, and the expectations were that the deal was signed shortly. This was announced at this year’s Aero India show in February.
The process of the evaluation has already been concluded early last year, and the report for this had been sent to the defense ministry.
There were some warnings given however by the IAF chief. He stated that it was possible that the deal could be delayed gravely if the losing contenders in the fray would decide to go against the decision of the government in either court or the CVC.
The deal was a target of controversy following the recovery of an important file related to the offsets. The file was recovered from a roadside in the Khel Gaon locality here.