Posts Tagged ‘Eurofighter Typhoon’

Indian MMRCA: Rafale deal is $5 billion cheaper than the Eurofighter

February 10, 2012

Though David Cameron and the other leaders of the four country consortium which manufactures the Eurofighter Typhoon (UK, Germany, Spain and Italy) have all been somewhat whiny about the selection of the French (Dassault) Rafale for the 126 aircraft Indian MMRCA deal it seems highly unlikely that the Typhoon can make a comeback.

The life-time cost of the contract is evaluated at about $20 billion with an initial contract value of about $10-12 billion. The ToI reports that the Rafale deal was evaluated as being $5 billion (about 25%) cheaper than the Eurofighter. Though the evaluation probably considers a total of about 189 aircraft (126 +63 in phase 2) it still represents a life-cycle cost difference of some $26 million per aircraft  and not just the $4-5 million lower initial acquisition cost per aircraft (bid-price). It seems almost impossible for the Eurofighter to match this difference. The first 18 aircraft have to be delivered in “fly-away” condition from mid-2015 onwards. The next 108 aircraft will have to be delivered from HAL in India at about 6 per year initially going up to 20 per year.

Exclusive negotiations between Dassault and the Indian Ministry of Defence start next week.

Times of India:

It was the “substantially higher cost” of acquiring and operating the Eurofighter Typhoon that led to its ejection from the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to supply 126 fighters to IAF. 


Indian MMRCA: Dassault’s Rafale dumps its price to beat the Eurofighter

January 31, 2012

Finally the winner of the Indian MMRCA competition has been announced (or at least the L1 bidder) and it seems that the French dumped their prices for the Rafale to beat the Eurofighter by $4-5 million per aircraft. The performance of the Rafale in the Libyan adventure was also to its benefit compared to the Eurofighter Typhoon. Normally in the procurement process, the L1 bidder is called for final discussions to settle the contract and some further price negotiations can be expected. The contract will not be settled till the next fiscal year (after April 2012) and it would be very unusual for the evaluated L1 bidder not to get the contract. This contract is particularly important for Dassault since not only did the Rafale need a boost but also because they are guaranteed a market with the Indian Air Force for at least the next 15 years.

Economic Times:

French company Dassault Rafale on Tuesday bagged India’s biggest-ever contract for supplying 126 combat aircraft for the air force, edging out European competitor EADS in the multi-billion dollar deal. 

The French firm was declared as the lowest bidder, according to which it will get the contract under India’s defence procurement procedure, sources said.  “The French firm Dassault Rafale has emerged as the L-1 (lowest bidder) and cheaper than its european rival EADS (maker of Eurofighter) in the tender and will be offered to supply the aircraft to the IAF,” the source said. 

They said the representatives of Dassault here were informed about the development in the morning and further negotiations on price will be held with them in the next 10-15 days. 

The contract will be signed only in the next fiscal. According to the Request for Proposal (RFP), the winner of the contract will have to supply 18 of the 126 aircraft to the IAF in 36 months from its facilities and the remaining would be produced at HAL facilities in Bangalore. 

Six companies including American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG 35, Swedish Saab Gripen alongwith Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale were in the race in the beginning. But in April last year, the Defence Ministry shortlisted Dassault and EADS, evicting the American, Russian and Swedish bids. 

The process was started with the issuing of a global tender in 2007 after which all the six contenders were subjected to extensive field evaluation trails by the Indian Air Force at several locations across the globe. 

The Defence Ministry had earlier cleared the way for opening commercial bids of Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon by approving their offset proposals.

famille Rafale

Indian MMRCA decision imminent as political support peaks for the Eurofighter Typhoon

December 28, 2011

The long running saga for the purchase of 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (worth in excess of 11 Billion $) is coming to a head between the 2 short listed – the Eurofighter Typhoon (UK, Germany, Italy and Spain) and the French Rafale. In April, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper, the MiG Corporation’s MiG-35 and Saab’s Gripen NG were eliminated after the technical evaluation leaving Dassault’s Rafale to compete with the Eurofighter built by a 4-country consortium. The winner is likely to sell a further 80 – 100 aircraft in a second phase. One requirement that the suppliers will be judged on is the extent to which technology transfer will take place and the extent to which Indian industry can become sub-suppliers. Rumours in the Defence Ministry are indicating a decision in the first half of January 2012.

The political support for the Eurofighter has reached its peak with a joint letter written by the leaders of the four supplier countries to the Indian Government welcoming India as a “fifth partner country”.


Indian MMRCA contract: Financial bids from Eurofighter and Rafale due on 4th November

October 31, 2011

The protracted process for the $10 billion (which will become $15 billion) contract for the supply of 126 fighter aircraft (MMRCA – Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) to the Indian Air Force is coming into its final lap. Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale made the short list and have been asked to submit their “best and final offers”. The financial bids will be opened on November 4th. The contract is expected to contain an option for an additional 63 aircraft.

MSN India reports:

With the decision of the defence ministry to open the financial bids early next month of the two finalists in the IAF?s medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender, IAF can now hope to acquire the first lot of 18 aircraft by end-2014 or mid-2015, depending on when the contract is signed.

The ministry completed the formalities last week and sent letters Monday to representatives of Eurofighter and Rafale for opening the bids on the afternoon of Friday, November 4. The representatives would authenticate the tender packets as their own and as submitted by them earlier, in the presence of senior ministry officials, and then they would be opened by one of the designated officers. …

Although the ministry’s initial assessment was that the deal could be worth around $10 billion, the Rafale and Eurofighter should cost somewhere around $15 billion. … it was only in 2007 that a Request for Proposals (RFP), or tender, was issued to these two European companies as well as US Lockheed Martin for the F-16 Super Viper and Boeing for F/A-18 Super Hornet, Swedish Saab for the Gripen and Russia’s Rosoboronexport for Mig 29M2, later designated Mig 35.

Eurofighter Typhoon for Indian contract? image:

The bids are valid till the end of December so the final contract could be awarded by then. But this  is India and  Dassault for Rafale and the Cassidian European consortium  for the Eurofighter could always be asked to extend the validity or to renew their bids.

But it does seem that the long tendering and contracting process which began in 2007 is finally coming to an end.

My guess is that the Eurofighter Typhoon will be chosen.

Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale make the shortlist for Indian MMRCA order

April 27, 2011
Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon: Image via Wikipedia

The Indian $10 billion MMRCA order for 126 fighter aircraft now lies between the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale. They have been invited to the Indian MoD for further discussions on their commercial bids on April 28. The commercial bids are to expire tomorrow.

These two vendors seem to have have made the shortlist and the other four – Lockheed Martin F16, Boeing F/A 18, MiG-35 and Saab Gripen IN have been left out. Saab confirmed that they have been informed that they have not made the shortlist. (Svenska Dagbladet).

Dassault's Rafale: Dassault

Under the Indian system of procurement, the top two qualifying vendors will be invited for commercial negotiations and the one which offers the best terms (lowest price) will be eventually selected.

Related:  Indian MMRCA decision in two weeks – Eurofighter Typhoon still leads

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.

Eurofighter Typhoon leads after technical evaluation but still not the favourite for Indian M-MRCA contract

November 7, 2010

The Telegraph today carries the story that the Eurofighter Typhoon came out best in the technical and flight evaluation just completed for the Indian M-MRCA contract for 126 fighters worth about 11 billion $. However the Telegraph’s conclusion that

The European-made Typhoon fighter is winning the fight for the $11.5bn (£7.1bn) contract to supply 126 fighters to the Indian Air Force in a deal worth $5 billion and 2,000 new jobs to Britain.

is a little premature.

In a recent interview Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik Chief of Air Staff said

The IAF has completed the Field Evaluation Trials on all six M-MRCA aircraft and has submitted its Staff  Evaluation Report to MoD for further processing.The likely time frame for completion of various activities before the contract is signed is about 6-8 months. So, we expect the contract to be signed by March 2011.

Now begin the strategic evaluations and these include a number of different levels of nested strategies. In addition to the IAF’s own views of what is required in its goals of becoming a Strategic rather than a Tactical Air Force and the mix of aircraft required for that, come the strategic requirements of the Armed Forces as a whole including the views of the Army and Navy not only for tactical support needs but also including the Navy’s carrier based fighter requirements. The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Finance are obviously involved together with the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) in the highest level of strategic evaluation of the National Interests. The initial costs, life-cycle costs and operating costs are all separate parameters in the final evaluation. Then the impacts of future jobs, technology transfer, development of indigenous capabilities and National political aspirations come into play here.

The reason I believe that the Telegraph story is a little too optimistic about the EurofighterTyphoon’s chances is that the “Medium” representing the first “M” of M-MRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) is a critical factor. In the “Heavy” class India has the Russian Su-30MKI, which is under series production at HAL in Nasik, India. The Heavy class will probably represent about 60% of India’s combat aircraft for some time to come. The need for a “Medium” fighter comes about because most of India’s MIG 21s are obsolete and “life-expired” and the IAF only has some 50 Mirage 2000s which are a decade old. The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft which was to have replaced the MIG 21s is a long way behind schedule and has not yet resolved all its technical issues. It is the need for around 15 -20% of the IAF’s combat aircraft being in the “Medium” class which generates the 126 fighters required in the current contract. The winner of this contract is likely to then sell another 80 -100 aircraft in a second phase.

The Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale at around 24,000 kg maximum weight are close to the level that would be classed as “Heavy”. The aircraft coming closest to meeting the Indian definition of “Medium” are Lockheed Martin’s F-16 IN Super Viper and the Swedish Saab Gripen IN and they have both been configured specifically for the IAF.


JAS Gripen

JAS Gripen Image via Wikipedia


Political considerations cannot be ignored and this gives the F-16 an edge even though there can be a perception issue since the F-16 is the mainstay of the Pakistani Air Force and the IAF must be seen to be getting something superior to that supplied to the Pakistan Air Force. The Swedish fighter may actually be closest to Indian requirements but bears the political burden of the Bofors affaire and the perception issues in India that domestic Swedish politics may suddenly intrude into a long term supply arrangement which must last for some 30 years.

The Eurofighter cannot be dismissed but my top three at this stage would be:

  1. Lockheed Martin F-16 IN Super Viper
  2. Saab Gripen IN, and
  3. Eurofighter Typhoon.

But there are many angles to be looked at and there is a very long way to go before the contract is awarded in March 2011.

Indra Dhanush 2010: Sukhoi vs Eurofighter and 10 B$ at stake

October 11, 2010


F3, Eurofighter, SU-30MKI


In 2006, and for the first time in over forty years the Royal Air Force and the Indian Air Force carried out exercises at bases in northern India, with Tornado F3s, E3-D AWACS and a VC10 making up the bulk of the RAF air presence. The bi-lateral Exercise INDRA DHANUSH (which means rainbow in Hindi), was held at IAF Gwalior and IAF Agra.The IAF platforms included the Sukhoi-30 MKIs, Mirage 2000, MiG-21 ‘Bison’ and MiG-27 aircraft.


Indra Dhanush 2007


Exercise Indra Danush moved to RAF Waddington in July 2007. On one side was Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoon, whose advanced aerodynamics and intuitive controls and avionics have led to it being rated as the second-best air superiority aircraft in the world. Its supporting cast included 1980s era Tornado F3 air defense variants, and upgraded GR9 Harriers from the Royal Navy. On the other side was India’s SU-30MKI, the most evolved variant of Sukhoi’s outstanding Flanker family, with aerodynamics that allow unique maneuvers, and full thrust vectoring besides.The Eurofighter is smaller, and is generally agreed to have more “shaping” than the SU-30 to reduce its radar profile (though neither aircraft is in the same class as the F-22A Raptor or even the less-stealthy F-35 Lightning II).


Now the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force “meetat Exercise Indra Dhanush 2010 from October 20th  at Kalaikunda, West Bengal. The exercise will be held in an AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) environment, with air defence being a major thrust area. Both the Indian and British forces are also expected to use their mid-air refuelling aircraft, like the IL-78 and VC-10 tankers, during the combat manoeuvres.

The exercise comes at a time when the $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the IAF is in the final stages of the selection process. Apart from the Eurofighter, the other five contenders in the hotly-contested race for the lucrative MMRCA project are the F/A-18 `Super Hornet’ and F-16 `Falcon’ (both US), Gripen (Swedish), Rafale (French) and MiG-35 (Russian).

A major Indo-UK defence deal has been the `Hawk’ AJT (advanced jet trainer) project. India is going in for another 57 Hawks as a “follow-on” order to the ongoing Rs 8,000 crore (about 1.75 B $) AJT project, finalised in March 2004 with BAE Systems, under which the IAF is already getting 66 Hawks.

The Royal Air force is going to field its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, AWACS (E-3D) and Air to Air refuellers (VC-10). The IAF will field SU-30 MKI, Mirage 2000’s, Mig 27’s and Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems(AWACS) Aircraft.

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