Eurofighter's "Ready for India" event in Delhi

At a little past noon on Thursday, at an extravagant event in Delhi's Imperial Hotel ballroom, EADS formally invited India to become a "partner" of the Eurofighter Typhoon programme. The invitation was formally extended by Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of EADS Military Air Systems in the presence of a bunch of member country Ambassadors/Charge d'Affaires, but had me a little puzzled. Who are these guys kidding (actually, who are all six of the MRCA contenders kidding about "partnership"!)? There's no partnership here. But Gerwert pressed on. He indicated that if India were to sign on the dotted line for 126 Typhoons, it would automatically be given technological and development participation in future tranches of the fighter plane platform. Like Northrop-Grumman offering the Navy technological participation in future variants of the E-2 Hawkeye. Attractive, but a little out of place.

The Eurofighter event comes four days before the RfP response proposal expires on April 28 -- six fat proposals will be submitted by five embassies to the Ministry of Defence on the morning of April 28. Everyone's obviously waiting till the last minute, hoping to get a final juicy bit of inside info on a competitor's bid document, and alter their own accordingly (that isn't far-fetched at all, by the way)!

Boeing sent in a whirlwind press release late Thursday evening, for the first time announcing the existence of an F/A-18IN variant for India, announcing the following:

"The Boeing Company today delivered a detailed 7,000-page proposal offering its advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Indian Air Force as part of India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition. Five roller bags containing copies of Boeing’s MMRCA proposal are shown being readied for delivery to India on Tuesday April 22, 2008 in St. Louis, MO. The Super Hornet variant being offered to India, the F/A-18IN is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)."

Yesterday, Gripen had a massive roll-out. The only chaps keeping real quiet about everything are the Russians and the French. Not a peep out of them in the last six months.

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