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India shortlists European Contenders on $10 billion fighter Project

India shortlists European Contenders on $10 billion fighter Project

Both Boeing and Lockheed received rejection letters after the technical evaluation process was completed for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), a project to buy 126 aircraft that is probably worth over $10.5 billion. India’s largest legacy supplier, Russia, was also rejected by the Air Force.

The apparent contenders remaining are both European, the Eurofighter and the Dassault’s Rafale.

Several weeks ago, there were news reports that India demurred on a possible trip by Secretary Hillary Clinton to New Delhi. This was my first major indication that the mega project was not likely to favor the American side and the Indians did not want to be pressured.

Impact: While the loss of this business is a setback to the ambitions of American prime defense contractors, the fact remains that India is already commited to the Boeing P-8i reconnaissance planes, has started to receive deliveries of the Lockheed Martin C-130J transport aircraft and is on the the final track to order the C-17’s built in my backyard in Long Beach, California. This adds up to about 8 billion dollars and more. Additional orders of American hardware are expected in the next few years.

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