Friday, December 17, 2010

Tech Transfer Issues Could Hold Up Indian Fighter Buy

Aerospace Daily-Av Week
Dec 17, 2010

NEW DELHI — Evidence is growing that the downselect decision for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) may not be announced until the fourth quarter of 2011, with the holdup centered on terms for technology transfer.

India requires that any aircraft or weapons system introduced into service successfully clear all tests, trials and evaluations. All the MMRCA candidates have completed user trials, including weapons validations, technical
and maintenance evaluations.

They are currently being evaluated on their proposals for industrial offsets, with technology transfer next up. Only when this process produces a short list will their commercial offers be evaluated.

Technology transfer terms must be completed with the main contract, a defense official explained. India requires that licensed production of the aircraft, including engines, accessories, radars, systems and tooling, be
covered by the tech transfer proposal.

The ministry holds refusal rights on any specific item and suppliers must provide full life-cycle product support.

The MMRCA contract will provide for 126 aircraft and is the largest military procurement pending in India.It has drawn bids based on the MiG-35, Dassault’s Rafale, Eurofighter, the Saab G ripen, Boeing’s F/A-18E/F
and Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

Vendors, who were supposed to have their evaluations completed last April, have already been required to extend or revise their bids through next April because the selection process became bogged down. If the defense ministry is not able to complete its downselect process by then, vendors will have to resubmit their bids and another year’s delay will ensue.

That raises the prospect that swings in currency rates could significantly change the value of the bids, given that rates are determined not when bids are received but when the commercial evaluation begins.
– Neelam Mathews

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