MMRCA negotiations “back on track”
After weeks of being stalled, commercial negotiations for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) are back on track and in full flow, top sources confirm. Since March, negotiations had been held up on multiple counts, including a tussle over contractual modalities, a split contract between the Dassault Aviation and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for flyaway and licence-built aircraft, transfer of technology and offsets. Sources in Dassault inform that mutual discussions have yielded a way forward.
HAL Chairman R.K. Tyagi had made a presentation during Aero India 2013 (a month before troubles began in the CNC) detailing the potential problems ahead in terms of absorbing technology from Das- sault, Snecma and Thales. The Indian Air Force (IAF) officials are also breathing a sigh of relief that it has been made clear that the request for proposal (RFP) obligations will have to be met, and that none can be altered at this stage. The IAF has also sent out a message by insisting publicly that it has no “back-up plan” for the MMRCA, following reports that more Su-30MKIs were being considered as an emergency measure in case the MMRCA did not fructify. As things stand, the Ministry of Defence is hoping to wrap up negotiations and begin work on a draft agreement by August-September 2013, about three months behind schedule as per the IAF’s expectations.