Boeing eyes mega-defence deal with Indian Air Force
While Super Hornet's 'running price' is $53.8 mn, the offer to India will be 'very competitive', writes S Rajagopalan.india Updated: May 08, 2006 01:07 IST
The gateway to America's Midwest is dominated by an architectural marvel that commemorates Thomas Jefferson's vision of the continent's westward expansion. It is a 630-foot stainless steel arch, visited by three million people every year.
But St. Louis is also home to Boeing's Integrated Defence Systems - a $ 30.5 billion business - that has set its sights on India as never before.
Less than a month after bidding for the sale of eight P-8A maritime aircraft to the Indian Navy, Boeing is now eyeing a mega-defence deal. It is pitching its F/A-18E/F "Super Hornet" for India’s ambitious plan to induct 126 multi-role fighter aircraft.
With India expected to come out with an "RFP" (request for proposal) from competing suppliers over the next 15-30 days, Boeing's IDS is witnessing frenetic activity these days. Once the RFP is out, the company will begin evolving its formal proposal in line with the US government's export control policy guidelines.
While the Super Hornet's "running price" is around $ 53.8 million, officials say, the offer to India will be "very competitive".
"We are trying to understand the Air Force's requirement and the government's requirement in terms of offsets...We can partner with India in terms of its industry capability," Boeing's vice-president Chris Chadwick told a visiting team of US-based Indian journalists. In its Indian bid, Boeing will have to contend with a domestic competitor in the form of Lockheed Martin, set to push its F-16 Falcon Block 70. The previous shortlist contenders included Dassault Mirage 2000-5, Russia's MiG-29 OVT/MiG-35 and Saab JAS-39 Gripen.