|MMRCA, no Gripen to steal the deal this time...|
Well... nothing ! The winner was to be decided before December 31, but apparently the Indian authorities will not reveal their choice before at least 3 more weeks which should be around January 20.
The reason for the delay is not clear. Tthey may need more time to fine tune their calculations in order to find out which of the 2 offers is the best one.Political preassure from both sides may also slow down the selection process. On December 30, the governements of the 4 countries producing the Eurofigther (Germany, UK, Italy, Spain) have issued a confidential letter to India Prime Minister to support the Typhoon offer. Whether it is good or bad news for the Rafale is difficult to assess. It could be interpreted as a desperate Eurofighter move in order to reverse a pro-Rafale atmosphere. But it could also mean that the Typhoon is leading and that letter would be the final formality before signing the deal.
I personaly think that such a letter is quite odd as it is very late in the process. The fact that it would be intended to assure the support of the 4 countries is also strange : The political strength of Germany and UK which are marketing the Typhoon in india would not be enough ? Why did they feel the necessity to rassure the indian authorities about their support of the Eurofighter program ? Could it be that India is doubting that the Eurofighter partners will actually put on the table all the fundings required to get a true multirole aircraft ?
Anyway, we will soon know. A third possibility for the MMRCA delay could be related to budgetary issues. Indeed, India economy is not at its best right now : India currency is quite weak and the 2 MMRCA offers are said to be higher than expected. Therefore some sources think that India would be looking for a suitable financial framework before signing. This could mean a reduction of the number of aircraft ordered, a delivery schedule spread on more time or, in the worst scenario, the cancellation of the MMRCA.