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India may announce MMRCA deal by Sept: IAF Chief

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Lockheed Martin's F-16 Super Viper taking a power take-off during Aero India 2011.

BANGALORE (BNS): India is likely to sign the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract by September 2011, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief-of-Staff P V Naik said Thursday.

“Commercial negotiations for the deal will begin in next two to three weeks and we will be signing the MMRCA contract by September this year,” the IAF Chief told reporters at Aero India 2011.

All six contenders for the big-ticket deal are participating in the aero show, pegged to be Asia’s largest air show.

Earlier, Defence Minister AK Antony made it clear that no political considerations will come in the path while deciding the winner. He also said that the decision will be taken based on the requirements projected by the IAF.

India's planned multi-billion dollar aircraft deal is the biggest contract ever since the 1990s. In 2001, IAF sent out its request for information (RFI) for the 126 fighters. After delays lasting almost 2 years beyond the planned December 2005 issue date, the Ministry of Defence finally announced a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) on August 2007.

Six global fighters – Lockheed Martin's F-16 Super Viper, Eurofighter's Typhoon, Russian United Aircraft Corporation's Mikoyan MiG-35, France's Dassault Aviation's Rafale, Swedish SAAB's Gripen and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet – had submitted their bids in response to it.

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Aero India  MMRCA  IAF  
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