16 Jul, 2011, THE ECONOMIC TIMES
ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD (UNITED KINGDOM): With India close to deciding the winner of its $10.4-billion tender for 126 combat jets, the four-nation European consortium EADS Cassidian has raised the pitch for its bid by offering New Delhi "full participant" status in its Eurofighter Typhoon programme.
Germany, Italy , Spain and United Kingdom, who partner the development and production of the Eurofighter Typhoon, are also willing to put "everything on the table" under the technology transfer commitments if they win the contract to supply these aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
"We are offering to India to become full participant in the Typhoon in its future development and I am making this offer on behalf of all the four existing partners," Peter Maute, senior vice president of Cassidian Air Systems , told a group of visiting Indian journalists at the Royal International Air Tattoo here.
Maute made this offer, saying it "is not limited to production and being part of the Typhoon global supply chain, but also be a partner in future developments for the aircraft."
Under this arrangement, the four Eurofighter partner companies will bring to the Indian defence industry, both private and public, and the research and development organisations a customised technological road-map.
They are committing themselves to transfer unprecedented level of sensitive technology and expertise not just in manufacturing, but also in design, development, and engineering, which are crucial to sustaining a self-reliant defence industry, a major focus of the Indian defence ministry.
Allaying Indian fears of technology denials and sanctions, as experienced after its 1998 nuclear tests, Maute said the four partner nations were "quite serious about a long-term, stable strategic relations" with India and that it has had a history of reliable partnership.
EADS is competing with French firm Dassault Aviation and these two are the only two left in the fray four years after the tendering process began in August 2007.
In April this year, India had effectively eliminated American firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin along with Russian Mikoyan and Swedish SAAB from the contest after a strict evaluation trials that were completed over a year ago.