SOURCE: THOMAS D’SOUZA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
With Scraping of Single Engine Fighter Tender (SEF) by India recently, Chances of India ever ordering and operating American made fighter jet is fast fading away even though both the countries are now closer to each other then they were ever been in the past.
While India is likely to refloat MMRCA 2.0 Tender soon which will allow all previous participators of MMRCA Tender back in the race, but it looks and feels like it is just mear formality made by Indian Government to make ways to place further orders for Dassault Rafale fighter jet.
An indirect offer of F-35 and fake reports of IAF being interested in American 5th generation fighter aircraft in Indian media, which was rebuked recently by IAF Chief confirms that Lockheed Martin and Boeing are both nervous of their changes in securing Indian order.
IAF’s Top officials always had the most serious reservation when it came to F-16IN and later F-16 V (Block 70) on offer by Lockheed Martin for MMRCA and SEF Tender and Americans again proved that they can’t be simply trusted, when it comes to their assurances on TOT and with their usual flip-flops coming in with guarantees regarding Transfer of Technology after they thought they were in the driver’s seat in Single Engine Fighter Tender (SEF) meant fate of SEF with only two contenders was reaching dead end .
Americans ability to turn on a dime when they think they have an upper hand in the negotiation table even when the aircraft on offer is outdated meant that even 5th generation fighter aircraft like F-35 will always have low chances in India even if offered to India.
Boeing on the other hand which is struggling to keep its fighter jet manufacturing facility in Business is very well aware that its chances improve only if it manages to secure orders from Indian Navy tender for Carrier based fighter jet, only then it will hold some leverage to secure orders from IAF, otherwise it too has pretty low chances in IAF tender .
With opposition making the allegation of corruption on the purchase of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jet in direct contract with the French government any further orders for Dassault Rafale fighter jet had to come with local production clause but also it gets great Transfer of Technology to ensure that fake allegation of Rafale Scam can be buried with more transparent tendering once the Modi Government comes back to power in 2019 for its second term .
IAF and Government of India might settle for 60+ Dassault Rafale fleet and with 36 aircraft on order sometime back, MMRCA 2.0 is mear formal procedural process which will be initiated to place follow-on orders for Dassault Rafale which will have local Assembly clause and will come with Transfer of Technology.
With France already agreeing to share and let India adapt Dassault Rafale technology for India’s 5th Generation AMCA Program, American companies seem to have lost their last big chance to secure orders from India.