Singapore: US aerospace giant Boeing will shortly submit its proposal for an Indian contract involving 126 warplanes worth $10-12 billion, a company executive said Thursday.
Joe Song, Asia Pacific vice president for international business development at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, said the company will meet a March 3 deadline for bidders.
“We’re planning to submit our proposal shortly,” Song told AFP, calling it “a very big opportunity” for the company.
“We’re looking forward to succeeding in that campaign,” he said by telephone from Tokyo, where Boeing has a major presence.
Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and the Russian-built MiG-35 and MiG-29 are front-runners for the contract to provide combat planes to India, which wants to replace its ageing MiG-21s, industry sources have said.
Also in the running are Eurofighter’s Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and Dassault’s Rafale and Mirage.
“It’s a great airplane,” Song said of the F-18. “It’s in operation right now with the US Navy. We believe that the airplane best suits the requirements of the Indian Air Force.”
Lockheed Martin has offered an upgraded version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon to India and to share the technology of its Patriot missile defence system, Singapore’s The Business Times reported.
France’s Dassault has said it could supply 40 new-generation Rafale jets on a fast-track basis as part of the deal, while Sweden’s Gripen has promised technology transfer, the report added.
Song said that with a roughly even split between its defence and commercial businesses, Boeing’s advantage over its competitors is that it can offer both military and commercial benefits to customers.
“We can bring total partnership... We bring much more depth and breadth... We are looking forward to give the best value in India.”
The contract will be the first time India’s huge defence establishment has bought fighters after evaluating rival bids through a global tender.
Under the deal, a large part of the cost will have to be spent in India, which has emerged as one of the biggest buyers of military equipment among developing countries.“