Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MMRCA – Closer to fruition as Rafale gets letter for L1?

Neelam Mathews
Jan 31, 2012

The MoD has kept its date for making a decision on its single largest defense deal yet. According to frantic and hectic agency and electronic media reports, the Dassault representative was handed over the letter by the MoD for being the lowest bidder of the around $18 billion 126 medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force, over its competent adversary, Eurofighter.

The contract is yet to be signed and might take longer than envisaged given the defense coffers for this financial year are nearly empty.

So have the heads of states started calling up the PMO? No one knows how geo-politics will rear its head as the four member European Consortium leading the Eurofighter are big trade ($40billion) partners of India versus the $5billion trade France has with India.

“Now the trade between the two countries will increase,” says an Indian defense-related industry official.

The thorny issue of offsets will be the next big hurdle. Dassault’s Rafale  does hold the advantage of having dealt with the Mirages in the past, though India never manufactured them. While tooling in certain aspects will be a new skill, there are many commonalities shared with the Rafale.

The outbid partner and its OEMs might find solace in the fact that there are many cross-supplies to Rafale.

The party might not be over as given the complexities of the Indian political and governance climate, nothing is over till its over, says a sceptic to Aerospace Diary.

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