Posts Tagged ‘Aero India 2011’

Indian MMRCA decision in two weeks – Eurofighter Typhoon still leads

February 13, 2011

A decision on the winner of the $10 billion Indian MMRCA deal for 126 fighters could be announced in two weeks and the contract signed by September. But in the normal way of these things I expect that a number of the losing contractors will object to whoever is chosen and some of the objections may well be in Court. There is no large Government contract placed in India without allegations of biased and “fixed” evaluations by the losers. But eventually the number of decisions overturned by such objections is very few. Whoever is called for negotiations when the winner is announced is 95% certain of being awarded the contract.

Eurofighter take-off: image

The word on the street is that the 4-nation European consortium’s Eurofighter Typhoon still leads after the commercial and strategic evaluation having already won the technical evaluation . But all the offset proposals put forward by the contractors may not have been fully evaluated yet. It would seem that technical considerations for one ( Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper) and strategic considerations for the other ( Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet) may disallow the choice of the US fighters. The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is probably running second.

But there may yet be a surprise.

Business Standard reports:

Electrifying aerospace vendors at Aero India 2011 in Bangalore, Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshall PV Naik, announced today that New Delhi would decide within two weeks about which medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) it would buy, and actually sign the US $10 billion contract by September.

A panoramic view of Aero India 2011: image Broadsword (

“The CNC (Cost Negotiation Committee) is likely to start in a week or two. Taking that as the datum and giving [the CNC] another 6-8 months, the contract is likely to be signed in September”, declared Naik.
The CNC is a group of officials that negotiates, between the Ministry of Defence and the winning vendor, a final price for the sale.
Naik’s boss, defence minister AK Antony, had stated at Aero India 2011 yesterday that the globally-watched contract would be finalised by the end of the next financial year 2011-2012, i.e. by March 2012. By setting the deadline six months earlier, Naik appears to have put the MoD under pressure.
Asked for a clarification by Business Standard, Naik’s officiating deputy, Air Marshall RK Sharma, confirmed his chief’s announcement. Sharma clarified that the winning vendor would be issued an invitation within two weeks to appear for cost negotiations, while the CNC would actually meet within two months. An invitation to a vendor to appear in a CNC is tantamount to announcing the winner of a contract.
“The DAC (the MoD’s apex Defence Acquisition Council) will formalise the winner soon; we will then invite that company for negotiations”, said Sharma.
Six fighters are competing for the IAF contract: Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet; Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper; the MiG Corporation’s MiG-35; Saab’s Gripen NG; Dassault’s Rafale; and a four-nation European consortium’s Eurofighter. Executives from these companies say they are baffled by Naik’s announcement. Asked in late-2010 to rework their offset bids, and with no date yet given for resubmission, the MoD does not have a key element needed to decide a winner.
“Is the MoD going to decide the contract winner without examining the offset bids?” asks a bemused executive, from one of the competing aircraft manufacturers.

The air chief also voiced his apprehension that the contract could be delayed by “dissatisfied vendors (who) put a spoke in the wheel”, using allegations of wrongdoing to trigger long-running probes by investigation agencies.
Yesterday, a defensive Antony had announced that political considerations would play no role in deciding the winner. That seemed to suggest that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which will be required to approval the contract after the CNC negotiates a final price, would merely rubber-stamp the IAF/MoD decision.
Other than the impending contract for 126 medium fighters to boost the IAF’s dwindling numbers, the IAF chief also announced the impending conclusion, “within this financial year”, of the contract to upgrade the air force’s 20-year-old fleet of 52 Mirage-2000 medium fighters. This upgrade, which has been the subject of bitter negotiations between the IAF and French contractor, Thales, will give the Mirage-2000 another 20 years of service life by fitting on a new radar and a modern cockpit with state-of-the-art avionics and electronic warfare equipment.
While Thales had initially demanded US $52 million per aircraft, the deal has been concluded, say IAF sources to Business Standard, at US 39 million per aircraft.

Aero India 2011 kicks off tomorrow: MMRCA and technology transfer are the issues of the day

February 8, 2011

The 5 day Aero India 2011 airshow kicks off tomorrow in Bangalore and is expected to attract over 600 equipment vendors from over 60 countries. It also brings to a head the discussions within India as to how to stimulate the indigenous aviation industry and whether offset requirements in defence procurement are effective. There is a school of thought that technology transfer should be used and that offset requirements do not contribute to developing the industry. In the background is the competition for the $10 billion, 126 MMRCA aircraft contract that must be decided in March / April.

DNA reports:

In the premier Indian defence journal, Maj Gen (Retd) Mrinal Suman — who retired from the Indian Army in 2003 and currently heads the defence technical assessment and advisory service of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) — prescribes that India, at present, urgently needs FDI in the defence and military aviation sector which is technology-centric with inherent flexibility. He has suggested that FDI could be 26% for low-tech products, while it could be 51%-74% for matured systems, and 75%-100% for cutting edge technologies.

Maj Gen Suman has decried the drastic fall in defence exports from ordnance factories from Rs41.07 crore in 2008-09 to a mere Rs12.28 crore in 2009-10, and has called it “a reflection of the nature of quality items being produced indigenously”. He has called for significantly increasing FDI and private sector’s participation in defence production and manufacture instead of just restricting to doors and frames of aircraft bodies. Suman also blasted India’s offset policy which envisages Indian companies to manufacture components worth 30% of any deal bagged by a foreign company as a seller to India. He termed it a “flawed policy” as it was not contributing to upgrading the indigenous technological base. He instead suggested that the current offset policy be amended to make transfer of technology the preferred mode.

While this is expected to take centre-stage at Aero India 2011, the intensifying contest for winning India’s $10 billion contract to procure 126 medium-weight multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCAs) will undoubtedly be the second most important issue in focus.

Not surprisingly, this is the first time ever that all six contenders for the contract are participating at an Aero India show — Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper (both from USA), MiG Corporation’s MiG-35 (Russian), Dassault’s Rafale (French), EADS’s Eurofighter Typhoon (European Union’s) and SAAB’s Grippen (Swedish).

The contest between these six, this time round, will be there for all to see with these aircraft displaying their skills and manoeuvrability to win the hearts of the Indian Air Force and ministry of defence experts who are expected to place a finger on one of them for procurement.

The IAF is procuring the 126 MMRCAs to bolster its depleting squadron strength. The IAF squadron strength is at present below the sanctioned strength — just 34 squadrons as against the sanctioned strength of thirty-nine-and-a-half.

There is a formidable Russian presence at the air show.

Russia will exhibit over 80 types of weaponry and will be represented by 35 companies at the upcoming Aero India 2011 air show, state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport said in a statement.
Russia will be represented by 35 companies, including MiG , Sukhoi, Almaz-Antei and Engineering Design Bureau.
Russia will traditionally promote MiG-35 and Su-35 fighter jets, the Yak-130 combat trainer, two versions of Il-76MD transport plane (with different engines), the Il-78MK aerial tanker and MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB naval fighters.
The Be-200 amphibious aircraft will most likely be one of the top attractions of the Russian exhibit as its popularity with foreign customers steadily grows. The plane could be used in a wide variety of roles, from maritime reconnaissance and rescue to firefighting.
Rosoboronexport and Russian helicopters will show the Mi-28NE attack helicopter, the light multirole Ka-226T and the heavy transport Mi-26. All three helicopters are currently taking part in separate Indian helicopter tenders.
The visitors will also be able to receive information about the Mi-35M combat transport helicopter, the Kamov Ka-31 radar surveillance helicopter and the Ansat and Kamov Ka-32A11BS multi-role helicopters.
The air defence part of the Russian exhibit will be represented by the Tor-M2E, the S-300VM, the Buk-M2E and the Tunguska-M1 systems.


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