EADS/Airbus Wins Indian Tanker Competition

EADS/Airbus has won the Indian Air Force's $1.3-billion tanker competition, with its A330 MRTT beating the Il-78M. While an official confirmation is still awaited, DefenceNews (which broke the story) reports that the A330 won on overall lifecycle, maintenance and fuel costs, but still fell behind on unit cost per aircraft -- like it did the last time. The competition was aborted in an earlier attempt after the Indian Ministry of Finance refused to accept the IAF's plea that the A330 would be a more economical aircraft to operate, even if the cost of the deal was markedly higher than the Russian bid. The cancellation had been a stinging blow to EADS.

EADS will remain cautious on the win until negotiations actually start. The last time, a proposed deal with EADS for the same aircraft was shot down by the Ministry of Finance, though this time the company is understood to have approached the competition differently.

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