The Times of India reports that India is willing to conclude the MMRCA deal before the end of the year.
"We should be ready to open the Typhoon and Rafale commercial bids in July,'' said the source. Thereafter, it will take another month to determine the lowest bidder (L-1) because of "huge mathematical and data verification'' of the lifecycle costs of operating the jets over a 40-year period. Commercial negotiations with the L-1 vendor will then begin before the final contract is ready for signing by December.
According to the ToI source, the following delivery schedule is expected :
- December 2014 : first deliveries start with aircrafts built by EADS or Dassault (18 airframes)
- December 2015 : First squadron formed
- December 2016 : First aircrafts built by HAL (108 airframes) with an initial production rate of 6 jets per year ramping up to 20 when the production line will run at full capacity
Also worth noting is the fact that both Typhoon and Rafale demonstrated AESA radar were judged mature enough to meet the IAF requirements even if none of the 2 European jets have such an operational radar today :
But what about the crucial AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar, which is operational only on American fighters at present? MoD said the ASQRs did "not require a flying AESA radar''. Instead, vendors had to demonstrate "a baseline radar model in flight or on a test-bed, the complete working model in a lab and how it would be integrated'' on the Indian MMRCA. "Five fighters, including Rafale and Typhoon, met this requirement,'' said the source.