M-MRCA Commercial Bids Expire Tomorrow, What Now?

The sealed commercial bids of the six competitors in the Indian M-MRCA fighter competition expire tomorrow. I spoke to officials at the six competing companies said they hadn't heard from the government, and were clueless about what happened next. So in under 36 hours, one of the following should happen:

1. The government will in all likelihood asks the six vendors to extend the validity of their commercial bids (though it hasn't asked them at least until the time this post goes on). In the first week of April, the government asked the six vendors to submit revised technical offsets bids. Tomorrow at midnight, the bids expire. In the past, requests for extensions have been provided with fair advance notice. This time, it's 36 hours and the vendors still haven't heard from the government. Foreseeing this eventuality, the vendors have probably kept their paperwork ready for the validity extension. Either way, the government can always ask for the extension after the bids expire, so this deadline isn't really a DEAD-line. Phooey.

2. If procedure permits, the government only requests those found technically compliant to extend the validity of their commercial bids for onward negotiations, and allows the others' bids to expire. An implicit down-select if you will.

3. The government announces its legendary explicit down-select -- fat chance of that happening.

4. The government cancels the M-MRCA tender. Yeah, right.

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