The Indian Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, April 27, asked Dassault Aviation and Eurofighter to extend their commercial bids beyond the April 28 deadline for the 126-aircraft medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement.
A decision in the long-running Indian medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition could come as early as September, according to Air Chief Marshall Pradeep Naik, an Indian air force commander. Naik told the press at the Aero India show in Bangalore that the price bids would soon be unsealed so that contract negotiations for the 120-aircraft order could start.
Attempts by India to fast-track the procurement process for its 126-aircraft Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft requirement have come unstuck as the evaluation process has taken far longer than initially expected.
Indian navy pilots and support crew have started training on the MiG-29K/KUB fighters with RAC MiG in Russia. The first of the aircraft ordered by India are due to enter service this autumn and the air crew have already flown serial-produced models.
The technical and technology transfer bids for one of the biggest-ever fighter deals of recent times are due for delivery in 11 days time. Six prime contractors chase India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement for 126 aircraft with an option for 64 more. The contenders are the Boeing F/A-18, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
The MiG-29M flying here with its Klimov RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines is a testbed for the technology, which is available as an option on the company’s flagship MiG-35 fighter.
Regarded as a prime example of Russian expertise in fighter design, the MiG-29 has become a classic much admired for its ability to perform extreme maneuvers–not least on the international airshow circuit. However, as perceptions of potential threats have changed, so too the MiG-29 has developed from a dedicated fighter/interceptor into a multi-role combat aircraft with a much enhanced capability for attack against ground and naval targets.
The next generation of the Russian MiG-29 fighter will now be marketed and sold under the new designator of MiG-35, as it is a distinctly new-technology, four-plus generation aircraft. This version of the multi-role fighter is a modern-day evolution of the MiG-29M-9.15 design concept aircraft that was first introduced in the early 1990s.
The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) medium multirole combat aircraft (M-MRCA) tender is beginning to resemble a free-for-all that shows no signs of abating and will continue for several years.
“Russians play chess and Americans play poker,” was the oft-repeated phrase used during the Cold War to describe how the two sides approached the development of their military establishments. Russian designers tended to look very long-term, building significant growth capacity into their platforms and anticipating that requirements would alter significantly over the 40 years that has become the average life span for a modern jet fighter.