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Six international companies bid for Indian fighter deal

Indian Air Force jets fly past during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 23, 2008. Six international companies have submitted bids for a 126 multi-role fighter jets contract, potentially worth more than $10 billion, the ministry of defence (MOD) said on Monday. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Six international companies have submitted bids for a 126 multi-role fighter jets contract, potentially worth more than $10 billion, the ministry of defence (MOD) said on Monday.

The international companies offered their proposals on the last day of bidding, the MOD spokesman said in New Delhi.

“We will now seriously examine all the bids and shortlist the companies in due course to two or three, before taking a final decision,” he said.

The bidders include U.S. manufacturers Lockheed and Boeing Co., Russia’s MiG-35, France’s Dassault Rafale, Sweden’s Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish companies.

“Even if everything does work out smoothly, we don’t expect the first batch of fighters in India before 2011,” the spokesman added.

India is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest arms importers and is also considering upgradation of its defence equipment.

Lockheed, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier by sales, has said India could be the largest defence market in Asia with $20 billion in contracts over the next decade.

On Monday, defence minister, A.K. Anthony said in parliament that it has asked France to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000 fighters.

India has also shown interest to buy Rafale advanced fighter jets from France.

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