February 21, 2012

Indian Fighter Deal Will Take Six Months To Finalize

India has started price negotiations with France’s Dassault Aviation on the 126-fighter Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program. A contract is expected to be signed after six months, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony says.
India announced in early February that the French Rafale had won the $11 billion deal, beating the Eurofighter Typhoon on price.
Meanwhile, Antony also says the proposed purchase of Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turbo trainer aircraft is going back and forth from the Cabinet Committee on Security to the finance ministry, due to clarifications that were sought to ensure a controversy-free deal for 75 aircraft for training rookie air force pilots.
The government will scrupulously scrutinize every stage of the procurement process and there will be transparency throughout, the minister says. “Nobody can corrupt the Indian system. We will not tolerate that. Everybody should be clear on that,” he says.
All processes in the proposed purchase of Pilatus—from qualitative requirements to Defense Acquisition Council approval, to trials of the competing aircraft and cost negotiations—are over.
“But at every stage we want to be absolutely clear that the process is going through as per the defense procurement procedure and there is absolute transparency,” Antony says. “So discussions are going on with the finance ministry.
“It is not a problem . . . it is part of the process, because the government is very particular that everything is clinched after clarifying all the issues so that future controversy can be avoided,” Antony adds.

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