MMRCA ne­go­ti­a­tions “back on track”

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

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.

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