London: The UK-based defence major BAE
Systems is considering lowering the price of its Eurofighter
Typhoon to win back the USD 11 billion Indian contract for 126
combat jets from France`s Dassault Rafale.
Quoting BAE`s Chief Executive Ian King, the Daily
Telegraph said the company was considering a range of options
to secure the deal to supply the fighter jets, which could
prevent a major industrial setback for Britain.
BAE was consulting with its partners in Germany, Italy
and Spain to see what was feasible in the coming days and
weeks, the paper said quoting BAE sources.
India had previously changed its mind on defence
contracts, the sources said, adding there was "still some way
to go" before any decisions by the country had been made.
They insisted the contract was still up for grabs, with
Dassault`s Rafale only having been named as the lowest-priced
compliant bidder rather than being awarded the contract.
The UK`s drive to kickstart growth and rebalance the
economy towards advanced manufacturing was dealt a blow last
month when the Indian government named the French manufacturer
as its preferred partner for the deal.
Trade union Unite warned that the selection of the Rafale
could have "serious implications" for BAE Systems and the UK
aerospace industry. It is estimated that 40,000 UK jobs are
supported by the project.
Last week, a "disappointed" British Prime Minister David
Cameron said he would do "everything he can" to "encourage"
India to reconsider its decision to acquire 126 French-made
Rafale fighter jets instead of the UK-backed Eurofighter
"Of course, I will do everything I can, as I have
already, to encourage the Indians to look at Typhoon,"
Cameron had told Parliament after India announced that it
would opt for Dassault Rafale fighter jets under the
biggest-ever military contract.
"The decision is obviously disappointing," Cameron had
said, insisting that the contract had not yet been awarded to
the French firm.
Cameron had said the Typhoon, made by a European
consortium including BAE Systems, was "a superb aircraft, with
further capability than Rafale and we will try to encourage
the Indians to take that view".