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Is the Eurofighter Typhoon in pole position for the MMRCA program? The British national newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, claims the fighter is ahead in the technical evaluation, citing an Indian air force source. There has been no corroboration, yet, of the statement (perhaps as a note of caution, the Saab Gripen is not even mentioned in the list of rivals, which may have been merely an oversight and may signal something about the strength of the reporting). The timing of the report is interesting, coming as it does during the visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to India, where he was pushing the Lockheed Martin and Boeing offerings in the MMRCA competition.It is important to highlight that the technical assessment is clearly only part of the source selection criteria. Industrial, pricing, strategic and political considerations also have their role to play. That is not just true for the Indian competition, but also in another major BRIC fighter program, the F-X2 competition in Brazil, where we now may be moving to a type selection now that Dilma Rousseff has clinched presidential elections in the country. Still, for Eurofighter the India report, if true, represents some good news and could add pressure on the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain to get on with funding key upgrades to the fighter which India has expressed interest in. Most notable among those is the advanced electronically scanned array radar. So far industry is pre-financing that work to keep its chances in India alive.
ar99, Typhoon, India
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