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India eyes 'flawless' Typhoon for 7 bln pounds: report

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A Eurpfighter Typhoon photo.

LONDON (PTI): The 'flawless' performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon in the Libyan war has made the aircraft the leading contender to win a multi-billion pound deal to supply the Indian Air Force, a media report claimed.

According to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the Indian government has shortlisted the Dassault Rafale and the Typhoon, both veterans of the Libyan campaign, for a planned 7 billion pounds order of 126 jets for its air force.

The Typhoon was already leading the pack after the jet scored highest in a technical assessment by Indian pilots who flew the aircraft in a series of exercises in 2010.

But the Typhoon's performance in the Libyan conflict, where it completed more than 600 combat missions, that will help to clinch the deal, the result of which will be made public before Christmas, the report claimed.

A successful deal would boost Britain's beleaguered defence industry and help stave off job losses, although it will not save any of the 3,000 posts cut last month in Lancashire and East Yorkshire by BAE Systems, which has a 33 per cent stake in the Typhoon programme.

The competition became a two-horse race earlier this year after the Indian government rejected two hugely successful battle-proven combat jets, Boeing's F-18 and Lockheed Martin's F-16, much to the chagrin of the US Department of Defence.

Both the Typhoon, which is jointly built by Britain, Italy, Germany and Spain, and the Rafale have performed admirably over the skies of Libya, enforcing the no-fly zone, launching air-to-ground strikes and conducting reconnaissance and over flight missions.

The report quoted Wing Commander Jez Attridge, the commanding officer of F Squadron during the first three months of the Libyan campaign, as saying: "The RAF Typhoons are already proven in the air-to-air role protecting UK airspace every day, but our deployment in the air-to-ground role over Libya demonstrated the flexibility of the aircraft and the people."

The multi-role Typhoon, which entered service with the RAF in 2003, many years later and billions of pounds over budget, is in service with air forces in Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

BAE is also pursuing sales in Japan, Oman and Malaysia, the report said.


India  Typhoon  MMRCA  
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