Tuesday, December 27, 2011

India May Cancel MMRCA Fighter Jet Competition

Victor Komardin, the deputy director of Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport, contends that the two short-listed candidates for India’s Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition have effectively ruled themselves out by putting too high a price on their fighters.

India’s politicians told the local press earlier this year that the MMRCA contract was a $10 billion deal, but reports from India in recent weeks say the manufacturers of the two finalist aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale, are each asking for around $20 billion to fulfill the 126-aircraft order, Komardin says.

“Against the backdrop of the [financial] crisis [sweeping the world], it is hard to see how any government would allow such a waste of money, particularly when there are social problems” to deal with, Komardin says. “And there is no imminent threat to India’s [sovereignty]. My prediction is that this tender will be canceled.” Komardin spoke to Aviation Week on the sidelines of the LIMA Airshow in Langkawi, Malaysia.

India and Russia are close partners on defense. Rosoboronexport’s MiG-35 was on the long list for India’s MMRCA competition. Komardin says the MiG-35 was withdrawn from the competition before the short list was decided. If India issues a new tender, it creates an opportunity for Russia and the U.S. to rejoin the competition.


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