Monday, January 16, 2012

MMRCA, 10 more days and more rumors

Last air refueling before the announcement ?
On January 4, the MMRCA annoucement was to be made in 3 more weeks. Now, on January 16, it is intended to occur in 10 days or at least before the end of January. as per the last reports in the India press quoting sources from the IAF and the Ministry of Defense. So, it seems that the schedule is still more or less on track.

The Indian Express reports :

" The proposals of the two contenders — French Dassault Rafale and EADS Eurofighter — have been scrutinised and final calculations related to life cycle costs and transfer of technology details are being finalised. While IAF sources have said the winner would be announced in the next 10 days, Defence Ministry officials said the decision would be announced by the end of this month."
"The final signing of the contract, however could take up to six months, the sources said. The original plan was to sign the contract this financial year, but it could be shifted beyond March."

Now the rumors of the week :
  • Rumor N°1 : The Rafale package would be L1. What to think about this rumor ? Well, last week, it was supposed to be the Eurofighter, so it's a draw.
  • Rumor N°2 : Eurofighter partners, BAE and EADS would "dispute" each other in order to be the prime bidder of the consortium in India. Formally, it is EADS which is in charge of the Indian market. The question is why would BAE try to interfer with EADS leadership so late in the process ?
  • Rumor N°3 : Dassault would have just hired a famous Indian Public Relation firm. If true, this move rises the same question ... why so late in the process ? 
All the answers in 10 days !


  1. Kovy,

    The implications of the second rumour are difficult to fathom but point to one of the major issues with the Eurofighter-the viability of its offsets proposals, which a lot of people had claimed was more comprehensive. The 'political' nature of EADS and other stakeholders like Eurojet would make framing and implementation of JVs and licensing rather messy. Which may be why BAE is trying to rework the bidding part since it is a company with a significant presence in India.

    Rumour 3 proves one thing for certain-it's a very close competition which may not end even if the government chooses a an L1 bidder in the coming weeks. So if the Rafale supposedly loses, it can go on a PR blitz and also launch protests. Or if it wins, it can do the same publicity overdrive. The Rafale has been the least visible of all MMRCA contenders so it needs to appear like a credible system since every major decision in India is treated with cynicism by the public.

  2. Does anyone know whether Frances is ready to transfer FULL technology to India for RBE2-AA, M88-2(4E), and SPECTRA (including sensor fusion)? I'm quite aware about ToT for the Typhoon but not quite sure about the Rafale.

  3. There is no such thing as full TOT; it's an empty marketing phrase. All vendors are supposed to transfer technology for major contracts; even the Americans do that. The French have promised most of the same including technology for the radar and source code.

    TOT is essentially a game of give and tech. A buyer can't always dictate what they want.

  4. It makes sense, that there cannot be complete TOT down to the last screw and bolt. But isn't then the extent of TOT something with which each competitor can try to get an advantage over the other?

    TOT was definitely a major selling point of Dassault's, ever since Brazil. Are Dassault's offers in terms of TOT more extensive than usual? Or is it really only marketing?

  5. Christian,

    In general, French companies are more open on transfer of technology and release of sensitive systems compared to the US or UK/Germany. But the flipside is that French systems are often significantly more expensive. The MICA is more expensive than the AMRAAM/Rafale is more expensive than Super Hornet/F-18. So a customer has to take a call on the operational benefits as well.

    TOT needn't necessarily be restricted to the systems on offer. So for the MMRCA, Dassault could offer/India could demand cooperation on UCAVs or new missile systems rather than technology for the Rafale, which at the end of the day is not the last word in combat aviation.