Eurofighter down to last two in £6.6bn India race

A fighter aeroplane made by a European consortium that includes Britain's BAE Systems has reached the final shortlist of two contenders as India ponders where to award a £6.6bn contract for 126 aircraft.

While there was no official statement from the Indian government, ministers are understood to have whittled down the original shortlist of six options to the Typhoon jet made by the consortium Eurofighter, and the Rafale, produced by French manufacturer Dassault.

Four others – produced by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, both of the US, Sweden's Saab and Russia's MiG – have lost out. While officials at Eurofighter and Dassault quietly smiled, the US made no attempt to hide its displeasure at missing one of the biggest ever arms export orders, despite the personal lobbying of Barack Obama. The US Embassy in Delhi said the US was "deeply disappointed" that neither of its companies had been selected.

Confirmation of the US's failure came on the day that its ambassador, Timothy Roemer, announced he was resigning for what he said were "personal, professional and family considerations". The embassy declined to comment on whether his resignation was linked to the failed tenders.

Mr Roemer had been at the forefront of efforts to lobby for an American supplier, though some reports said the US aircraft – Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet – did not meet the Indian Air Force's technical requirements.

As India seeks to extend its global political and strategic influence, the government in Delhi is poised to spend $50bn over the next five years to upgrade its capabilities. Much of its armed forces is equipped with Soviet-era hardware. The deal for the 126 fighter jets would sharply elevate its air power and allow it deploy near both the western and north-eastern borders, where it sees Pakistan and China as potential threats.

The Eurofighter is made by the four-nation European Aeronautic Defence and Space consortium, representing Germany and Spain, Britain's BAE Systems and Italy's Finmeccanica. Whichever of the two remaining bids is selected, the Indian authorities have said 18 of the 126 jets will be bought in "fly away" condition and the remainder will be made in conjunction with an Indian manufacturer.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...