[CENTER][FONT=arial][SIZE=5]India Declares Rafale 'Lowest Bidder' In Fighter Contest
[/FONT]Ares, jan 31
Aviation Week's reporting team in India has now confirmed that the Indian government has named Dassault Aviation's Rafale the lowest bidder in the country's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Competition (MMRCA).
The deal, if it leads to an actual contract signature, would be a huge win for Rafale and a big loss for the Eurofighter Typhoon team. It would be Dassault's first Rafale export deal. Contract signature is likely still months away as industrial details are negotiated.
Another big winner, if the deal is cemented, would be French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made securing a Rafale order a big governmental push. Sarkozy faces reelection in April/May and is trailing in the polls.
The Indian MMRCA program is the largest international fighter competition on the market. It is to lead to license production of at least 126 fighters, with options for many more.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F, Lockheed Martin F-16, Saab Gripen and MiG-35 were earlier knocked out of the competition.