India Invited To Join Eurofighter Makers' Consortium - EADS
Thursday April 24th, 2008 / 9h34
NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- The makers of Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets Thursday said they are inviting India to join them in building next-generation fighters, a move which may boost the chances of the Eurofighter winning the South Asian country's $10 billion contract for 126 jets for its Air Force.
The Eurofighter consortium comprises Alenia SpA of Italy's Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems PLC (BA.LN) of the U.K., and the Spanish and German units of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (5730.FR), EADS Casa and EADS Germany.
India is the first non-European country to be invited to join the consortium, a senior executive from the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV (5730.FR) or EADS said.
But the country will only be allowed to join if India selects the Eurofighter, said the executive, who didn't wish to be named.
Making parts of the combat aircraft in India will help the makers of the Eurofighter meet the Indian government's offset requirements if it buys the aircraft, he said.
Separately, Chief Executive of Military Air Systems at EADS Bernhard Gerwert said, "If India becomes a partner, they will also become a partner in all future technology enhancement."
"As part of our industrial cooperation offer, we invite India to become our member," Gerwert told a news conference.
India's Defense Ministry has issued formal invitations to six foreign companies to supply 126 multi-role combat jets in a deal potentially worth about $10 billion. India currently flies Russian-made MiG fighters, U.K. Jaguars and French Mirages.
Apart from the Eurofighter, the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-16 Falcon, the Boeing Co. (BA) F-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Aviation SA (12172.FR) Rafale and the Swedish Gripen fighter are also reportedly contenders for the deal.
Eurofighter plans to submit its bid for the combat jets on April 28, the last day for receiving bids, the statement said.
Indian defense ministry regulations require foreign military companies which have won contracts worth more than $71 million to reinvest at least 30% of the contract value back into the country's defense sector.
In the case of the combat aircraft deal, the offset requirement has been raised to 50%.
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