‘Combat plane deal winner will be announced soon’

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 16:00

New Delhi: The winner of the multi-billion
dollar deal to procure 126 combat planes for Indian Air Force is expected to be announced in two weeks time, the IAF Chief
said here Tuesday.

European EADS Eurofighter and Dasault Rafale are in the
final race for Air Force`s global tender to procure 126
Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA).

"Right now we have to do the selection for who is going
to be the shortlisted vendor. I am hopeful that in another two
weeks time, we will be able to shortlist the name," Air Chief
Marshal N A K Browne told reporters on sidelines of a NCC
function here.

Asked whether IAF will try to finalise the deal early as
the financial year is coming to a close in March, he said,
"The financial year does not have any bearing on that."
On commercial negotiations with the selected vendor, he
said, "Once we shortlist that (vendor), then the commercial
negotiations will start with the vendor."

Asked whether he approves of the step taken by Army
chief General V K Singh to move the Supreme Court for resolution of his date of birth issue, Browne said, "I don`t want to comment on this issue at all. I don`t wish to comment on an issue like this."
General Singh yesterday filed a writ petition in the apex court after government rejected his plea to change his date of birth.

As per the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), the
lowest bidder is considered to be the winner of the contract.

The two European firms were competing with American
companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Russian MiG corporation
and Swedish Saab, for the tender.
On November 4 last year, the Defence ministry had opened
the commercial bid of the two firms left in the race and since
then has been busy in determining the lowest bidder.

The Eurofighter bid is backed by four partner nations
including Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom while
the Dasault Rafale is backed by the French Government.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 15:40

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