Global giants bid for 12-bln-dlr Indian fighter deal

NEW DELHI, April 28, 2008 (AFP) – Global aviation giants on Monday submitted bids to sell 126 warplanes to India — the world’s richest fighter aircraft deal worth 12 billion dollars, the companies said. Six aeronautical companies from Russia, the United States and Europe offered their proposals to the Indian defence ministry well before an official deadline ended at 12 noon (0630 GMT), they said.

US-based Lockheed Martin, which is pushing F-16s, said its proposals ran over 10,000 pages, while European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), offering its Typhoon Eurofighter, sent 7,000 pages to the ministry.

Seattle-based Boeing, which is offering F-18 Superhornets, had submitted proposals running to around 7,000 pages on Thursday.

The air force contract includes outright purchase of 18 war jets by 2012 with another 108 of the same planes to be built in India.

India also has an option to buy 64 more multi-role fighter jets.

Russian manufacturers of MiG-35 and MiG-29, as well as Sweden’s Saab, which is hawking its Gripen fighter, and French Dassault, which constructs the Rafale and Mirage, also handed over bids to the Indian authorities, ministry officials said.

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