It's the Rafale! The Indian government has declared the Dassault Rafale
the lowest bidder in the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) competition, signalling its prospective victory
in a monumental competition that has spanned six years. The story broke first on Livefist
. While a letter of intent (LoI) was issued to Dassault Aviation today, a final contract will be signed contingent on successful negotiations over the next 9-12 months. EADS Cassidian has been informed of the government's decision and is likely to receive further information
in the days ahead on how the selection was made. The decision is a big blow to the EADS campaign, considering how much they'd thrown at winning this one.
When and if the deal is finally signed, it will be Dassault's first export contract for the Rafale and the single largest it has ever participated in. I only say "if" because there is still work left before contract signature. But this is, by far, the closest Dassault has gone to clinching an order for the Rafale. The Rafale pips the Eurofighter Typhoon for what is by far India's largest aerospace contract and one of the most keenly tracked in recent aerospace contracting.
Not to crow or anything, but I happen to be the only Indian journalist who has flown in the Rafale. Here's my account
of that amazing ride. Only if you must though :)
Photo / Arpit Agarwal