New Delhi: The Indian Air Force said Wednesday it had completed the technical evaluation of six fighter jets from various companies around the world for a medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract estimated at more than $11 billion. The MMRCA contract is intended to replace the IAF's ageing fleet of Soviet-era fighter aircraft, including MiG-21's and MiG-27's.
"The technical evaluation report is now with the ministry of defence and we are awaiting their clearance," air force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major told a news conference.
In contention are Lockheed Martin's F-16 Falcon, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, Russian Aircraft Corp.'s MiG-35, Saab AB's JAS-39 Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Aviation SA's Rafale.
"We expect the ministry of defence to clear it soon, so that flight evaluation (field tests) can begin in two or three months after their approval," ACM Major said.
ACM Major also clarified that France's Dassault Aviation SA had been allowed to rejoin the bidding process. He provided no clarifications on the reasons why it had been knocked out of the evaluation process and subsequently allowed to participate.
Last month reports emanating from New Delhi had suggested that Dassault had been knocked out of contention for the contract "during the technical evaluation phase due to non-compliance with some operational requirements."