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India’s long-awaited plan to acquire 114 fighter jets under the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRFA) tender is set to witness significant progress later this year. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to approach the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to obtain the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the program, which will establish the requirement and secure budget clearance. Subsequently, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued to initiate the procurement process.

In the previous MRCA tender, Eurofighter Typhoon, alongside Dassault Rafale, was the only other aircraft that fulfilled all the technical and Transfer of Technology (ToT) criteria set by the IAF. Ultimately, Dassault Rafale emerged as the winner due to Eurofighter Typhoon’s pricing, despite later offering to match Dassault’s price.

Insiders familiar with the matter have revealed to idrw that the Eurofighter Typhoon Total Availability Enterprise partnership has already reduced costs by 30% for the Indian deal, with a potential to surpass 35%. As the jet is unlikely to secure major contracts elsewhere, host countries have initiated the early retirement of older Tranche 1 aircraft from their fleets, with plans to completely phase them out by 2040.

Tranche 4, the variant offered to India, will continue production until 2030. However, the Indian deal will entail a significant shift in the production line, moving it from Europe to India. This move will also grant Indian companies the rights and capabilities to cater to the existing operators of the Eurofighter Typhoon. India will gain access to the Transfer of Technology (ToT) for many of the aircraft’s core technologies, enabling the country to plan further upgrades independently, with or without Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) support.

Dassault, the winner of the initial deal with India that eventually supplied 36 Rafale jets, is now faced with the challenge of offering substantial discounts for potential massive orders. Since winning the deal, Dassault has secured numerous orders worldwide, which may limit its ability to provide significant price reductions. However, the company remains a strong contender for the forthcoming fighter jet contract, particularly with major upgrades planned under the F4 and F5 Standards until the early 2030s.

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