BAE to cut price of fighter to secure Indian deal?



BAE to cut price of fighter to secure Indian deal? 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 Typhoon aircraft.

"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".

PTI