India Opens Bids for $11 Billion Fighter Jet Deal

Posted November 4th, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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India has opened bids from two European groups for the purchase of 126 fighter jets worth roughly $11 billion, in one of the world's biggest arms contracts.

Indian defense ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said Friday that officials met with representatives from France's Dassault and the Eurofighter consortium to examine their proposals.

The bids were not made public and Indian officials say it could take weeks to make a decision.

In April, India rejected bids from U.S.-based Boeing and Lockheed Martin, as well as bids from Russian and Swedish firms.

India is the world's largest arms importer. James Hardy, Asia-Pacific Editor at Jane's Defense Weekly, says the $11 billion contract is the “single biggest competition in the global defense aviation industry at the moment.”

India is spending billions of dollars to upgrade its defense capabilities, with an eye on rival Pakistan to the west and China to the east.

Under the deal, 18 fighter jets will be delivered ready-made, while 108 jets will be built in India.

Dassault makes the Rafale aircraft while Eurofighter is putting forth its Typhoon fighter jet.

Analysts say both jets are coming off successful performances as part of NATO's air campaign in Libya.