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Eurofighter to vie for 10 billion pound Indian contract

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A file photo of Eurofighter -- the most up-to-date multi-role combat aircraft in the world

LONDON (PTI): Multirole combat aircraft Eurofighter will vie next month for a lucrative 10 billion pound Indian defence contract, in a contest likely to come down to one between the European aircraft and Boeing's F/A-18, a media report said.

The European high-tech combat aircraft produced by a four-nation consortium plans to stake its claim for the more than 130 modern fighters’ contract, one of the largest international arms deals in recent years.

Besides Eurofighter, Boeing's F/A-18, Lockheed Martin's F-16, France's Rafale, Russsia's MIG-35 and Sweden's Gripen begin a fly-off next month consisting of a series of trials throughout the subcontinent.

The contest could come down to a race between the Eurofighter and the F/A-18. "They look like the most likely contenders," The Sunday Times said quoting a source at last week's Paris air show.

The Indian government is unlikely to make a speedy choice, with the trials expected to last for up to a year.

If Eurofighter wins, it would be a boon for BAE Systems, Britain's largest defence group, part of the consortium that makes the aircraft, the paper said.

BAE has collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) one of India's biggest defence groups which now makes BAE's Hawk trainer jet, used by the Indian air force.

The Eurofighter Typhoon has had a rough ride in Europe, with some defence analysts and politicians calling for the project to be curtailed, the paper said.

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