Thursday, March 15, 2018

India eyes Boeing fighter jets in latest procurement twist

New Delhi/Singapore: Boeing Co, considered the frontrunner in the race to supply the Indian navy with new fighter jets, is now in contention for a much bigger $15 billion order after the government abruptly asked the air force + to consider the twin-engine planes.
Until recently, Lockheed Martin Corp's F-16 and Saab AB's Gripen were in a two-horse race supply at least 100 single-engine jets to build up the Indian Air Force's fast-depleting combat fleet.
Both had offered to build the planes in India in collaboration with local companies as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to build a domestic industrial base and cut back on arms imports.
But last month the government asked the air force to open up the competition to twin-engine aircraft and to evaluate Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, a defence ministry source said. That jet is a finalist for the Indian navy's $8 billion to $9 billion contract for 57 fighters.
The defence ministry plans to within weeks issue a request for information (RFI), the first stage of a procurement process, for a fighter to be built in India. The competition will be open to both single and twin-engine jets, the official said, but both Lockheed and Saab said they had not been informed about the new requirements.
15/03/18 Reuters/Times of India

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