The Bids for Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition were opened this Friday in front of the officials from Indian ministry of defense, Indian Air Force and representatives from the Dassault and EADS. The US, Russian and Swedish bids to provide 126 MMRCA were rejected in the earlier rounds of the competition.
French Dassault and EADS (UK, Germany, Spain and Italy) are fighting hard for the Indian MMRCA order which may later be increased to 189 fighter jets.
French Dassault Rafale fighter is leading the race with lower "unit flyaway cost" when compared to the EADS Eurofighter Typhoon. Direct acquisition costs of both fighter jets fall in the $80-$110 million range. Indian Air Force will also consider "life-cycle costs" (overall operating for 40 year or 6,000 hours) before making its final decision.
Indian defense ministry has announced that level of the transfer of technology (ToT) and offsets will also be important factor in the final decision. India will purchase first 18 fighter jets directly from the manufacturer in a flyaway condition, while the rest of the 108 fighter jets will be produced in by the Indian aerospace giant
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Indian Air Force wants to sign contract by January-February with deliveries starting in 2015. Under this plan, HAL will start the deliveries of Indian produced MMRCA fighter jet from early-2017 onwards.