Indian MRCA competition <Indian-MRCA-2009>

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Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet205 weeks ago
The U.S. Navy operates over 340 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets (with 411 on order), and is presently the only user of the aircraft. Australia is buying 24 F/A-18Fs, and Boeing is trying to gain other contracts as well. The MMRCA contract represents a prime opportunity for U.S. defence companies to gain a foothold in the Indian defence market, which is estimated to be about US$100 billion in the next 10 years.

Initially, the Request for Information (RFI) was not issued to Boeing, which decided to field the Super Hornet. The U.S. Government allowed Boeing to participate in the RFI, and later gave permission for RFP as well. However, any sale of aircraft will need to be approved by the U.S. Congress.

Initial reactions within the IAF were enthusiastic, although there were apprehensions of support issues in case of future sanctions. There were concern over the availability of the Super Hornet's APG-79 AESA radar, but export of the radar has been approved by the U.S. government. The US has stated that there would be some restrictions and pre-conditions for the purchase of the aircraft.

On 24 April 2008, Boeing (through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi) submitted their 7000-page proposal to the Ministry of Defence, before the April 28 deadline for the submission for proposals. The Super Hornet variant being offered to India, the F/A-18IN, is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Raytheon's APG-79 AESA radar is being offered on the aircraft. There will be a limited ToT on the radar, up to the level approved by the US Government. However, Raytheon has stated that the level of ToT offered will be compliant with the RFP requirements. Delivery of the first F/A-18IN Super Hornets can begin approximately 36 months after contract award.

Boeing has proposed joint manufacture of the jets with Indian partners. It also plans to offset the cost by setting up a US$100 million maintenance and training hub in Nagpur. This is the first time the Super Hornet has been offered for production in a foreign country. On 14 February 2008, Boeing and Tata Industries agreed to form a joint-venture company. The new entity, which will be formed in June 2008, will supply components for Boeing military aircraft, including the Super Hornet.

In order to satisfy its offset requirements, Boeing has signed long-term partnership agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Tata Industries, and Larsen and Toubro, who will play a significant role in production and assembly of the aircraft.
 posted by Indian MRCA competition 

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