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INDIAN NAVY’S FIGHTER REQUIREMENTS

EUROPEAN CONSORTIUM EYES INDIAN NAVY’S FIGHTER REQUIREMENTS
By Bulbul Singh

22 Jun 12. EADS of Germany is still hopeful of selling its Typhoon to India, despite being put to second position by Rafale of France in the Indian Air Force’s $11 billion Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition. EADS has now offered to India its naval version of the Typhoon and has also indicated that the European consortium could welcome India’s participation in future modifications and development of the Typhoon. The European consortium has also offered India all technological and development participation in future tranches of the Typhoon, said a source in the Indian Air Force.

Indian defence ministry officials here confirmed the offer made by the European consortium but would not commit further action on the proposal.

EADS is still eyeing the Indian Air Force competition besides the demand of the Indian Navy for fighters as the deal has not been finalized though Rafale of Dassault of France has scored over Typhoon after the Commercial bids were opened early this year. Contract negotiations are still underway between Indian and Dassault officials and the final result is likely only by October, by which time the deal is expected to inked.

Both Rafale and Typhoon had been found compliant on all the 643 technical parameters laid down to meet specific operational requirements of Indian Air Force but the French aircraft was quoted at least 20 per cent less than the Typhoon said sources.

The Indian Air Force tender is for purchase of 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft, whereas the Indian Navy has a separate requirement for 63 fighters. India’s Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) has already cleared a proposal by the Indian Navy for the purchase of 63 fighters from overseas. However, no global tender has been floated for the acquisition of these fighters.

The Indian Navy favours separate procurement of the fighters in a separate tender while some officials in the Indian defence ministry favour extended the additional order to the winner of the Indian Air Force tender. The Indian defence ministry bureaucracy are avoiding getting into long drawn procurement procedures of acquiring another fighter for the Indian Navy, whereas the latter would want to buy a fighter afresh and not accept the aircraft selected for the Indian Air Force.

EADS has offered the naval version of Typhoon at lower prices than quoted overseas and on transfer of technology basis, said an official of the Indian Navy. EADS has also offered India to be a partner in future designs for the carrier based aircraft version of Typhoon. At present, Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany are partners in the Typhoonprogramme. EADS claims that the naval version of Typhoon is a shore-based combat jet, has the potential to be a carrier-borne aircraft essentially in a ski-jump take-off configuration due to the thrust-vectoring 90 kN (kilo Newton) engine that powers it. The European consortium has said in its offer to India that only minimal changes are required on some fuselage sections of the aircraft and the engine to extend the aircraft’s range.

India has already contracted Russian made MiG 29K aircraft for the Russian carrier Admiral Gorshokov which has been reconfigured into a ski-jump take off mode at the Russian shipyard.

The Indian Navy has placed a total order for 45 MiG-29Ks but official say there is need for additional 63 fighter aircraft.

A French diplomat here said that Rafale’s naval version can also be offered to India incase the tender is inked with the French company, adding that it would be useful for India to have both the land and sea version of the fighter.

Typhoon is a is a twin-engine canard-delta wing multirole aircraft designed and built by a European consortium of four companies including Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, CASA of Spain and EADS through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986.

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