But soon thereafter and in April 2015, in a surprise move, India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that the MMRCA
deal signed by the UPA government was effectively dead.
Whereas, the latest price of the jets under the MMRCA
deal, announced by then-defence Minister Parrikar was $14.4 billion, which means that the price per plane under the previous deal was much lower at $114 million.
Despite the adverse MMRCA
decision and given that the deal with France has not been concluded, the United States showed interest in selling the F-35--the Joint Strike Fighter--to India.
Since the announcement, the Chief of Air Staff was hopeful about the MMRCA
programme receiving the official sanction by end of 2013.
Air Chief stressed that it was necessary to induct proposed medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA
) by the year 2017 otherwise, he warned that if the combat aircrafts are not procured the level of the force will reduce rapidly, "that we have to prevent.
"The discussion on the MMRCA
(medium multi-role combat aircraft) contract are progressing well," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a press conference with Hollande, who is on his first visit to Asia since taking office last year.
Nevertheless, the acceptance of American F-16 and F/A-18 jets into the early rounds of the MMRCA
competition signaled that the FMS system could be competitive in India, a matter of some relief to U.S.
The air force has in the past, including with the MMRCA
program [to buy light fighters], tended to prefer a mix of single and two-seat aircraft," he added.
Thus, as the United States approaches India to generate the desired strategic partnership, it must recognize that, in the short run, the relationship may be marked more by high-profile transactional failures--like the exclusion of US fighters from the medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA
) deal and India's nuclear liability legislation (47)--as opposed to concrete successes of diplomatic heft.
There is hardly any trace now of the bitterness felt over the loss of the MMRCA
deal in 2011.
Saab Aircraft Saab has not given up hope of winning the Indian air force's medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA
) contest, despite having failed to make the service's shortlist when it narrowed the field to two European models early last month.
He noted two American aircraft, the F/A 18 Super Hornet and F-16IN Viper, are among the contenders in the competition to provide Indian Air Force 126 frontline Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft, or MMRCA