What lessons should the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium draw from India's decision to pursue MMRCA contract negotiations with rival Dassault Aviation for the Rafale?
The initial reaction in Eurofighter countries has been a mix of disappointment and disbelief. What has been notably absent, so far, is any soul searching on how this massive tender was lost. Other losses, such as Japan, could be relatively easily explained away and did not require such an after-action assessment; but the India situation is different. The stakes were simply too high.
There has been little indication that the consortium members are ready to open that can of worms. But here are just some of the questions that may need to be raised:
•Was Germany the right country to lead the campaign?
•Was the absence of a firm contract to develop the AESA radar a strategic handicap?
•Did the U.K.'s long reluctance to properly discuss Typhoon operations in Libya mean Rafale got all the bragging rights for the campaign?
•Is the diverse consortium structure a handicap in devising complex offset packages, when it should be an asset because work can be spread across more companies?