Friday, March 11, 2011

Price talks for 126 jets to begin this month: IAF chief

India will this month begin the price negotiation for the $10.4-billion contract for 126 combat planes for its air force to conclude the deal by July this year, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik said here Thursday. 

"The cost negotiation for MMRCA will begin by the end of this month. I expect the contract to be signed before I retire from service in July this year," Naik, who interacted with the capital's women journalists, said. 

India is buying 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for which it issued tender in August 2007. The six contenders for the contract, described in defence circles as 'mother of all deals', are American majors Boeing and Lockheed Martin , Russian United Aircraft Corporation , French Dassault, European consortium EADS-Cassidian and Swedish Saab. 

Boeing's F/A-18, Lockheed Martin's F-16, United Aircraft Corporation's MiG-35, Dassault's Rafale, EADS-Cassidian's Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab's Gripen are the fighter aircraft in the fray. 

The chosen combat jet will be the mainstay of IAF's fighter aircraft fleet for the next 40 years. The new MMRCA will replace the IAF's existing fleet of MiG variants.

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