Indian Air Force poised to receive bids: Rafale, Typhoon or (surprise!) F-35?

Update:

“”Negotiations with the firms will start after opening the bids on November 4,” Air Marshal D. Kukreja said. “Whatever is beneficial to the country, we will choose.” India in April pulled a surprise by cutting out U.S. bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin, much to Washington’s disappointment, as well as dropping Sweden’s Saab AB and the Russian makers of the MiG 35 from the race. Lockheed still are hoping for a reversed decision. “The final outcome will not be known immediately except perhaps an indication of whom we may prefer,” retired Gen. Afsir Karim, an expert on Indian arms procurement, said Nov. 3.

“A price negotiation committee will finally determine the winner,” he said.

Dassault’s Rafale plane and the Eurofighter Typhoon have both been in action over Libya in recent months during the international operation to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.””

When the Indian Air Force announces the winner of the medium multi-role combat aircraft contract on 4 November, there will be only two options: A (Dassault Rafale) or B (Eurofighter Typhoon).

But the US government apparently still hopes the Indians will pick option C: the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Months ago, I wrote a piece on Hilary Clinton’s Pitch to India back at the beginning of the year. More to follow…


Clinton’s ‘Unbelievable’ Pitch to India

Lockheed's Fourth Generation Stealthy F-35 Lightning

An unprecedented step by the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has been made in India following her trip to New Delhi last week, a report from Eurasia.net states. She has stated the US’ willingness to offer the state-of-the-art F-35 warplanes to India at the bargain price of $65 Million each.

Compare this to the $85 Million an Dassault Rafale would cost, or the $125 Million that a Eurofighter Typhoon was offered at, its clear to see how big a step this is. Analysts will obviously suggest that the US are trying to establish a stronger level of military sales in the area, but why is yet to be seen. The recent failure by American companies to procure a $10.4 Billion contract for the Indian Air Force could be partially to blame, but also the transition of F-35 to a production model of late means that it has only just become eligible for the IAF proposal that was originally laid out. Not to mention the offer yesterday China made to Pakistan to give an entire squadron of brand new J-10B’s recently put into production. Maybe this is a fore planned counter move by the US? Either way, expect more on this as the proposal develops.