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India has asked two European defense firms shortlisted for its $10.4 billion tender for 126 combat jets to extend their commercial bids till December 31 and has given them two weeks time to do so, an official said Thursday.

The spurned vendors and countries failing to receive invitations by the Indian Ministry of Defense to extend the validity of their commercial bids for the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), which expired on Thursday, have issued cautious responses indicating that they do not consider the matter closed and that there is, still, much left to be discussed.

The Indian Ministry of Defense has asked the European Eurofighter Typhoon consortium and the French Dassault to extend the validity of their commercial bids for the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender till December 31, 2011. StratPost reported the formation of an …

StratPost can also confirm that according to the IAF and the ministry, the other aircraft in the fray, the US Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the US Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-16, the Russian MiG-35 and the Swedish SAAB’s Gripen did not pass the technical evaluation conducted by the IAF.

Significantly, the Swiss Air Force is now also looking for additional capabilities in the aircraft like an AESA radar and is planning to increase the order size from 22 to 36.

India’s air show in Bangalore next week will be the largest ever with 29 countries bringing their aerospace products, including fighter jets and transport aircraft, for showcasing at the five-day event.

The Boeing F/A-18 Hornet is capable of operating off public roads like the Saab-built Gripen.

US defense and aerospace company Boeing is offering a charged-up engine to power its F/A-18 Super Hornet, in the race to win the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

The acquisition process for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft by the Indian Air Force is facing delays due to uncertainties about offset policy and with vendors facing the prospect of having to redo their homework.

A statement from Saab on Wednesday said the order was worth 2.2 billion Swedish Kronor, around USD 310 million. The Royal Thai Air Force already operates four single-seat ‘C’ variants and two ‘D’ versions of the aircraft, which were acquired in 2008.

The British Sunday Telegraph has reported that the Eurofighter Typhoon is ‘winning the fight for the contract to supply 126 fighters to the Indian Air Force’.

India is going to be disappointed with President Barack Obama’s visit beginning Saturday after next. The upside of this is that the Indo-US relationship has come a long way in so short a time as to engender expectations that could induce performance anxiety.

The Indian purchase of Harpoon anti-ship missiles has settled the issue of end use monitoring by the US, with both sides agreeing to a compromise that can be a model for future deals.

Bernhard Gerwart, CEO of Military Air Systems at EADS Defence & Security, said, “Yesterday, I had some meetings with the leaders of the IAF and the MoD and it was more or less confirmed that we had done the flight trials very well,” adding, “Mind you it’s just a feeling,” while pointing out the IAF had made no official statement to him.

The US Navy has compared the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet to fifth generation fighter aircraft, making a strong pitch for its selection in the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contest of the Indian Air Force (IAF). It also said intends to keep the aircraft in service beyond 2035.

Agenda check: The US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Gary Roughead is to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday.

Five new Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets at the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley in Queensland on Friday. Australia intends to acquire a total of 24 Super Hornets, delivery of which is expected to be complete by 2011. The aircraft are equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned ...

To show that political lightweight Sweden can play the game too, King Carl Gustaf is in Brazil to pitch for the Gripen.

Vivek Lall, head of Boeing’s defense unit in India, talks about how growing US-India relations have helped Boeing’s prospects, in a wide-ranging conversation.

The flight trials currently underway are not only a test for the selection of aircraft for the IAF, but also an opportunity for the six contenders to set records for a take-off from the highest altitude in the world, from the runway at Leh.