Multi-role combat aircraft trial in Bangalore


Technical evaluation and trials will be conducted in Bangalore, Jaisalmer and Leh at a “no-cost no-commitment” basis. An additional weapon firing trial will be conducted in the manufacturing country.

The fighters in contention are the USA’s F-16 Falcon from Lockheed Martin and F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, Sweden’s Gripen (JAS-39); Rafale from France’s Dassault Aviation, Russian MiG-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon from European consortium EADS.
Barring Typhoon and Grippen, other four flew in the Bangalore air show in February last. “The trial process should be over by the middle of 2010,” a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) official said here on Tuesday. He, however, did not disclose the schedule.

Once the trials are over, the IAF will submit its evaluation report to the Defence Ministry which will initiate the commercial negotiations. The fighters are not expected to join service at least before 2014. However, zeroing in on the final vendor will be the responsibility of Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the prime minister.

“It’s a political decision taken after considering strategic and geo-political conditions. The chosen vendor need not be the L1 (one with lowest price but fitting the IAF requirements),” he said. None of the six vendors will be provided with any information during the trial, though they will be present at the occasion.

While 18 MMRCA will be purchased in flyaway conditions, the remaining 108 will be manufactured at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

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