The Indian Ministry of Defense has issued letters, on Wednesday, to two of the six vendors competing in the estimated USD 10 billion Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), asking them to extend the validity of their commercial bids, which will expire on Thursday, tomorrow.
According to the IAF and the ministry, the other aircraft in the fray, the US Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the US Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-16, the Russian MiG-35 and the Swedish SAAB’s Gripen did not pass the technical evaluation conducted by the IAF.
It is noteworthy that this comes just a day before the commercial bids of all six vendors were to expire.
It would not be unsurprising if this move by the ministry and it’s coincidentally sharp timing were to raise the hackles of the spurned vendors. Industry insiders are already expecting to see a robust response from these vendors and their countries of origin, at least in private, to this decision.
One question some of the vendors losing out are already asking is why the ministry asked all the vendors to resubmit their offset proposals early this month if they already knew the outcome of the technical evaluation submitted by the IAF last summer, and waited till a day before the expiry of the commercial bids to effectively announce a shortlist by inviting extension of commercial bids from only two vendors.
The commercial bids of the other four vendors will lapse on Thursday, tomorrow.
Something else the uninvited vendors are ready to question is the basis for judging technical compliance, with robust speculation that none of the MMRCA-6 aircraft were actually completely compliant with the IAF’s 643 parameters listed in the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs) for the tender.